The average person gets 900 pieces of unsolicited mail every year. During the holidays, when catalogs and charity solicitations abound, that number jumps even higher. Eventually, you will probably recycle or throw it all away. But unless you move quickly, it can pile up everywhere. If you are as annoyed with junk mail as I am, here are five easy ways to help manage it.
1. Unsubscribe from catalogs
- Sign up for a free account on catalogchoice.org. This not-for-profit service gives you the option to unsubscribe from hundreds of catalogs. And if the catalog does not participate directly with CatalogChoice, the service will give you the exact information you need so you can call or email the vendor to stop getting their unwanted mail. Keep in mind that catalogs are printed far in advance. Plan on waiting 6-8 weeks for the catalogs to stop coming. Consider donating to this organization so it can keep up this much-needed service!
2. Opt out of unwanted insurance and credit card offers
- Go to optoutprescreen.com. This is the Consumer Credit Reporting website run by the major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, Experian, and Innovis). You can opt out of receiving this kind of mail for five years using their easy electronic system, but if you want to opt out permanently, you will need to fill out the form on the website and mail it in.
3. Unsubscribe from coupons and flyers that come in the mail
- Find the online form from RetailMeNot (formerly Red Plum) here.
4. Use charity mailings to get off charity solicitations
- I learned this successful tactic for getting off those pesky mailings that come back as soon as you send in a donation. On the pre-addressed form enclosed with the solicitation, write, “Please take my name off your list and do not share or sell my information.” Then send it back in the return envelope provided. (Bonus points if it is postage paid.) You may have to do this several times, but eventually, it will work.
5. If you move, don’t file a permanent change of address form
- This may seem counterintuitive, but when you move, the post office makes your name and new address available to data brokers and marketing companies through the National Change of Address database. In order to avoid getting on this list, you can file a temporary change of address with the post office which will last six months and can be extended for up to a year. Temporary change of address forms are not registered with the NCOA database.
You can stop junk mail from overtaking your life. Even if you follow just one of these tips, your mailbox (and desk) will thank you!