In a recent post, I covered how to organize mail and paperwork. What I didn’t highlight was how to eliminate all of that annoying junk mail from even arriving in your mailbox. Getting rid of junk mail can provide some pretty big benefits.
How to Stop Junk Mail in 5 Steps
There are five main steps you can take to eliminate most junk mail. These quick and easy steps will eliminate most of your junk mail. The first three steps literally take just a few minutes and will eliminate most junk mail.
Step 1: De-list your Name from the DMA
The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) provides research and advocacy for direct mailers. Additionally, they provide a service for consumers to opt out receiving direct mail from each of four possible categories: credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers, and other (includes bank and retail).
To opt out of receiving mail from these categories, you can create a login or download a printable form to send in (along with $1) at the DMA’s dmachoice.org site.
Step 2: De-list your Name from the Abacus Catalog Alliance
Opt out by:
- email: send full name (including middle initial), current address, previous address (if not in current for 6 months) to [email protected]
- mail: send same info to: Epsilon Data Services, P.O. Box 1478, Broomfield, CO 80038
- phone: (888) 780-3869
Step 3: De-list your Name with the Credit Bureaus
Go to optoutprescreen.com or call 888-5-OPTOUT. This is a joint venture by the Equifax, TransUnion, Experian, and Innovis credit bureaus. Opting out will remove your name from credit and insurance solicitations for 5 years, or permanently, if you choose.
Step 4: Respect your Name
Whenever signing up for any service, making a donation, or whatever it may be, let people know that you do not want to receive solicitations or want your information shared at all. Be very explicit about this request.
Step 5: Be Persistent
The previous four steps will eliminate most junk mail, but not all. To get rid of all junk mail, it will take some persistence and patience on your part. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call the number on the mail to ask that they never reach you again and to find out how they got your information in the first place
A little effort will go a long ways towards de-cluttering and minimizing your impact on the environment.
The Benefits of Stopping Junk Mail
Why eliminate junk mail?
- Simplifying and de-cluttering your life is refreshing.
- You’re preventing yourself from getting into future economic troubles by signing up for something you don’t need
- You’re preventing the possibility of identity theft & mail fraud that may come with stolen mail.
- You are helping the planet by cutting back on carbon dioxide emissions and save trees. The amount of junk mail per household each year adds up to two trees and 92 pounds of CO2 for production and delivery. On a national scale, that’s 100 million trees and the equivalent of 3 million cars worth of pollution.
Junk Mail Discussion:
- What tips do you have for getting rid of junk mail?
- Approximately how many pieces of junk mail do you get in a day, week?
I really think this is a great piece of advice. We are quite often guilted into signing up for odd offers. I tend to ask more questions now and it saves getting unnneeded calls & mail. Thanks for sharing.
@ Wormey – Each of your creditors should have their own opt out programs as well. If you have an online account, look for ‘privacy’ on their websites, it should lead you in the right direction.
I am pretty sure I de-listed with the credit bureau’s and the DMA. I did this about 8 months ago, and have seen a dramatic reduction in mail. There are days that I go to the mailbox and have nothing to pickup. Those are the days that I walk back to my house smiling. I will do the ACA as well, since I still do get some junk mail.
How does one get on these lists? Online it’s all opt-in at somepoint. I have been opting out for most things to de-clutter my online junk mails and it’s been great. I don’t receive my regular junk mail, maybe that’s because I recently moved to a new apt. I actually don’t mind getting coupons, maybe one will help. Usually just throw them out.
I found optoutprescreen.com over a year ago and signed up, and have received very little junk mail since then. The junk mail I do get tends to be from nonprofit and charity organizations that I’ve donated to in the past. I wish they would just take my annual donation and quit sending me address labels, calendars, and all of the other similar stuff that I have no use for!
@Craig – you’re automatically on the lists as your info. is bought and sold on the auction block unless you opt out. However, even after opting out, there is still stuff I receive that I don’t know how I received.
@Stephanie – I used to work for a non-profit. Believe it or not, most actually have a ‘do not solicit’ box in their databases. With your next donation check, maybe include a letter that says ‘please opt me out of any solicitations’.
I’m pretty sure this doesn’t help stop junk mail, but it is satisfying anyway. I collect all of my pieces of junk mail with one of those postage paid return envelopes. Then, after making sure to remove anything which can identify me, I stuff them with pizza coupons, other offers, candy wrappers, or whatever I have nearby and mail them back. I once sent Visa 3 issues of The Watchtower (compliments of my local Witnesses). I figure it is only fair.
Great tips! 70% of mail I receive is junk these days since all my banking is electronic statements.
Great post and after writing a post on this very topic – stopping junk mail – I was glad to have found some new tips here. Still, the advertisers always figure away to get to you eventually!
Thank for sharing. This is great post and sometime junk mail really annoys me.
If you want to know where the spam bots are getting your email address from, just do a search in google using your email address. If it shows up then you can be pretty sure the spam bots run into it also.
Get a new name and don’t let anyone put it on any webpages. If they do, you can find it by googling it. I don’t get any spam.