Works For Me Wednesday: A Quick Fix for Junk Mail

It clutters our family’s mailbox and rapidly fills our recycling bin, but who has time to actually contact every source for this mass of wasted paper?  Lately I find myself spending ten minutes a day reading and shredding piles of envelopes. That’s time I’d much rather spend sorting through matchbox cars with my toddler.  Enough!  I finally developed a few solutions to stop the endless stream of junk mail flooding into our home. Less Junk Mail=More Play Time!

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Opt Out:  I didn’t think I had the twenty minutes it took to print and fill out the online forms available at Opt-Out, but then I realized that I spend twice that amount of time each week shredding junk mail and tromping out to the recycling bin.  It’s worth a little effort to get the time savings in the long run!

When I finally went to the Opt-Out website I found the process surprisingly easy. The site will let you fill in your information and then formulate dated, addressed letters to seven different marketing networks and credit reporting agencies. I then simply printed out the letters, addressed the envelopes and sent them off with my own postage.

The site also has the Opt-Out telephone number listed to get you off the phone solicitation list.  No more calls during dinnertime or when Roscoe is in the middle of a diaper change! It also prevents me from tersely interrupting the telemarketer and bitterly informing him or her never to call my number again.  (Which isn’t easy for a generally congenial person like myself.)

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Just Say No:  I have a secondary strategy to rid our family of excess mailings now that I feel freedom is in sight.  I just printed up a bunch of quick notes to send in the postage-paid envelopes that are often enclosed with junk mailings. Feel free to copy the text of the note below. You’ll notice that it’s a bit snarly, but sometimes that’s what it takes to get off the list!

To Whom It May Concern:

I would like my name to be removed IMMEDIATELY from your mailing list.  Rather than spending your organization’s time and energy sending me mail that is of no interest to me, please stop sending me any offers from this point on.  If you do not concede with my request, I will be forced to make further and more forceful complaints. I expect you to honor my wishes.

 Sincerely,

(Include your name and address)

Or Say No Nicely:  Here’s a note to send to charities that load you up with junk mail.  It sounds a bit less hostile, but still works:

To Whom It May Concern: 

Surely your charity wants to put its limited resources to the best possible use.  I would like to be removed from your mailing list.  My family has chosen to focus our giving on a few organizations and yours is not one of them.  Please help us limit waste and save your charity’s time and money by honoring our wishes.

Sincerely, 

(Include your name and address) 

You can fit about four of these notes per printed page and easily have a stack ready to shove into envelopes when the junk mail arrives.  Then just sit back, relax and watch those heaps of incoming mail slowly dwindle.  Ahhh….  If you want even more tips on how to make your life easier, go to Rocks in My Dryer for more “Works for Me Wednesday” ideas.  And don’t forget to check yesterday’s post for tips on how your cleaning closet confessions can win you some free Shaklee products.  Register and spill your deepest cleaning secrets today! 

Comments

  1. What a great post! I can’t wait to try it out.

    Two years ago I called the opt-out hot line and ordered forms for my old name (got married), new name, the most common misspellings of my name, and my husband (all times two because our old home turned into our office and we moved into a different house). Of course, I didn’t think to do any for our business name(s). At that time, only five major credit companies received a copy. And they only last for five years, so it’s only a matter of time before they expire.

    While I saw a slight decrease in junk mail, it wasn’t what I had hoped for. But then, this was before the online forms. I didn’t know that I could mail the letter directly to the companies. I love the idea of sticking a form letter in the return envelope, because I’ll feel proactive and, since they pay for the postage, maybe they’ll take notice.

    Speaking of charities, xmas 2006 I gifted an animal from Heifer International. When xmas 2007 rolled around I received 5 mailers in a range of thicknesses. After the third of fourth mailer, I was seeing red. I thought I bought an alpaca for a needy family, not a subscription to their mailer! The worst part is that now I can’t bring myself to support Heifer, even though I agree with their paradigm. I mean, what other b.s. are they spending my money on?!

    Thanks for the tips, Joy! This is one great idea I’m definitely going to embrace.

  2. I have tried calling all those numbers to end my junk mail, but I still get a lot anyway. It does work to call each company individually (using their 1-800 number) and tell them to take you off their list. Also, what can you do about the mail addressed to “resident”? Thanks for the new ideas–I’m going to try some out!

  3. my mom bought me a subscription to greendimes where they stop your junk mail and plant trees in your name. it’s helped a fair amount, though we still get some junk.
    thanks for the tips! 🙂

  4. I’ve used both OptOutPrescreen and Catalog Choice. OptOutPrescreen.com will remove you from any credit card offers. Catalog Choice (http://www.catalogchoice.org/) will remove you from the catalog mailing lists, downside on this one is that you have to do one catalog at a time. Both of these work! I can’t tell enough people about these websites. After I’ve done these, I actually have a couple days a week where I don’t have any mail.

    If you have any tips on how to get rid of the bulk mail, like the weekly grocery store mailings, I would love to hear from you on it!

  5. Victory over catalogs can be easy too! I also just discovered that you can use catalogchoice.org to quickly get your name off the mailing lists of catalogs you aren’t interested in receiving. They will contact the companies for you, allowing you more time to play with blocks, wash the diapers, and clean the various bits of squashed food from your dining room floor.

  6. holly By Golly says:

    I like some of these ideas. I’m a mail carrier and give out the http://www.catalogchoice.org site to anyone who wants to use it. I don’t print out a form letter to send back with the business reply envelopes. I simply take the application (for credit cards) that has my name and address on it and I put a big X on it. Then I write ‘NOT INTERESTED’ next to my name and mail the application form back in the business reply envelope. It costs that company 65 cents (or more) for each envelope they get back. I call it ‘mail customer’s revenge’.

    Also, calling the 1-800 number costs the company as well. If I use it, I tell them that I’ll call again next month if I keep receiving their mailing or catalog. I save up junk mail and then spend about 1/2 hour calling or dealing with the business reply envelopes. I do the envelopes while I’m watching the evening news….gives me something to do with my hands. All of these methods cost the company money. I no longer get credit card applications AND in comments to the woman who donated to Heifer Project International, I sent them a donation ONCE and included this note: ‘If you do NOT sell my name and address to other NPO’s (non profit organizations) I will support yours for a lifetime.’ They have honored that note and I now have them included in my will. I only support two NPO’s and ONLY two. I have an agreement with both of them. ALWAYs send a note with a donation saying ‘Please do NOT sell my name and address to other NPO’s’ OR send a one time donation using a money order. Do not put a return address on the money order, nor on the envelope. (keep the receipt for tax purposes)
    I hope some of this data helps.
    HbG

  7. Holly By Golly says:

    Good ideas.

  8. This blog Is very informative , I am really pleased to post my comment on this blog . It helped me with ocean of knowledge so I really belive you will do much better in the future . Good job web master .

  9. I love these ideas, I’m going to make this and setting up e-billing a priority project for the end of this year. No more paper pileups -woohoo!

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