Paperless / Paper Management

How To Conquer Your Junk Mail: 9 Incredible Simple Strategies

Do you ever feel like you are not only drowning in your very own paperwork but even more so from all that junk mail that just magically keeps re-appearing in your mail box on a daily basis even though technically you never even asked for it? Well, I can tell you in all my efforts of organizing offices and with that of course paperwork – You Are Not Alone! You and many others share your frustration and all too often I see my clients with the best intentions: They shred, they recycle and they toss. All of which of course are part of gaining control over our paper work, yet – no matter how much work they put in, junk mail just has a way of magically re-appearing and will do so in the future unless of course you do something about it.

Therefore, merely tossing junk mail as it enters your home or office is simply insufficient and only part of what needs to be done  – today’s article is all about the big picture and how once and for all you too can get it done  – How To Conquer Your Junk Mail: 9 Incredible Simple Strategies. I promise if you follow these strategies – you will reclaim your mail box in no time.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that it’s going to be easy. It does require a little bit of work and picking up a few good daily habits along the way if you want to make a BIG Difference. The strategies themselves are incredible simple yet what most people simply struggle with is the part of actually doing it which will be the hard part but following these steps will give you a road map and one by one will get you there and in the long run save you not only tons of time but also energy.

I must admit that sometimes doing something even though I know it’s for the better isn’t exactly making me want to do such thing either and sometimes even I need a little convincing or a gosh darn good reason why I should invest my time and energy. One good reason is the disastrous effect junk mail has on our environment besides of course creeping up in our mail box and high jacking all of our time. We all are responsible and we also all have a choice to do something about it . . . maybe one person can’t fix all this but what if we all put in our part? Just maybe . . .

Fact and Personal Statement

100 million trees are ground up each year for unsolicited mail
28 billion gallons of water are wasted for paper procession each year
40 pounds of junk mail a year – that’s almost an entire tree per family
4 million tons of paper wasted each year – most unread and unopened
Advertising mail accounts for 59% of our mail

Junk Mail is Unnecessary and in my mind one of the worst things we can do to our environment – so the sooner we all put our efforts together to stop it the better – if we want to get rid of unsolicited mail then we will all have to make a combined effort.

1     Make Use Of Technology / SmartPhone: If you are like most people in this day and age, more than likely your phone is already attached to your hip. Simply take control of your paper junk using an App called PaperKarmapaperkarma-logoIt’s free and one of the easiest ways to cut your paper waste. After a short one time account set up simply pull out your phone and snap a photo of unwanted catalogs, magazines, coupon books, fliers, white and yellow pages you name it – if you can take a picture of it PaperKarma will do it’s best to stop it. Available in the App Store or GooglePlay.

Click Here: To Watch a great little video about PaperKarma

2     Create A Form Letter: Did you know there is a privacy law that has been in existence since 2000? But as usual it’s not that simple! You actually have to go out of your own way to tell the companies specifically not to release any of your information. The trick is to create One Form Letter – stating the very fact not to release any of your personal information such as your name, address, social security number, email address etc. for any marketing, mailing or promotional purposes. Then simply change the companies name and address each time you are mailing a letter. I recommend sending this form letter to all of your banks, credit card companies, credit unions and mortgage companies that you are dealing with.

3     Contact The Consumer Credit Reporting Industry – Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) companies are permitted to include your name on lists used by creditors and insurers to make firm offers of credit or insurance that have not been initiated by you however what many do not know is that they also offer / provide you with the right to opt-out preventing such companies from giving out your information. but again you have set that in motion first – here are your two options.

  • Opt-out from receiving such offers for Five Years or
  • Opt out from receiving such offers Permanently

Disclaimer: Through research I have found that they are listed in the BBB – Better Business Bureau, they are also listed as legit by the FTC – Federal Trade Commission but I can understand that you may not feel comfortable entering your information online. Follow your gut and do what feels right to you! Follow the link to the Federal Trade Commission if you would like to read up on what it is they do.

You also have the option to call 1-888-5-OPTOUT an automated service that is run jointly by our four main credit bureaus in the US – Equifax, TransUnion, Experian and Innovis, once you have gone through the process a “Notice of Election” form will be mailed to you.

 4     Write To The Mail Preference Service – A consumer service sponsored by the Direct Marketing Association also known as the DMA and request your name, address, and phone number to be deleted from all mailing and marketing lists for free. I recommend writing them every time that you move as well as every five years as they will retain your information for five years and if you prefer the convenience of online registration – register online for a $5 fee here:

Mail Preference Service
c/o Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

5     Do Not Enter Sweepstakes No Matter How Good They Are – I can’t emphasize this enough! They will sell your information and every chance they get sell it again. So if you are working on downsizing all of your junk mail than make this part of your mantra! What’s done is done but moving forward do not participate.

 6     Be Selective – Ever notice when you purchase an item at a store and they want all your information such as your email, address etc? I am not saying they all sell your information or to completely stop – there are a few stores that I actually love getting their specials from. I am however extremely selective and decide right then and there if I really want to give out my information and open myself up to more mail in my mailbox or email in-box for that matter. It also pays to ask what specifically they need your information for – see if there is an option to opt out / check a box so they cannot sell your information. Just remember trust your gut!

 7     A Word About Warranty Cards and Product Registration – When purchasing electronics you are covered under the manufacturer’s warranty whether you return the card or not. These cards are used to gather names and mailing lists – be sure to check the box that you are not interested in any other product (unless of course you are) – only provide your name, address and products serial number and add a note saying you want your information kept private if you decide to fill out the form anyways.

 8     Are You Moving? I know how convenient the post office’s change of address cards can be, trust me I have moved many, many times but if at all possible do avoid it as the post office will sell your information over and over again. Send postcards or email to friends and family and write a simple form letter to companies instead. You can also simply go online – these days most banks, credit card companies etc. will all let you change your information right on their website making things very convenient and easy.

9     Add A Recycling Bin – I know this won’t really help in lessening your junk mail – however the process of downsizing our mail boxes does take time. In the meantime slow down the incoming process – our entryway really represents a point of control and your opportunity to leave the junk right at the door. Simply add a recycle bin to your entry way and nip the junk in the butt before it ever enters your home, when you walk in with the mail – toss the junk immediately.

And I know what you’re thinking – who wants an ugly green recycling bin right in their front entry? Anyone who knows me also knows that I use any excuse in the book to MAKE THE NECESSARY LOOK BEAUTIFUL – so here are just a few beautiful examples to show you that just because it has to function as a recycling bin – does NOT MEAN it has to look like one. 


Adding A Recycling Box To Your Entry In Four Stylish Ways


So the actionable step that I want you to get started with is to open and deal with your mail DAILY – then simply select one step for that week and do it! Then the following week pick another and so on. 

And if you like, share with us your progress we always love to hear a good success story. Just remember this will take time and persistence but trust me the time spent following these steps is nothing compared to the time spent of having to recycle, shred and toss in your lifetime! It is possible to eliminate almost all of your junk mail and if we can all help the environment by reducing paper waste then I am happy camper!

It’s your turn! Do you find it hard to keep up with all of the junk mail? Have you found a way of how to best deal with your junk mail? Join the discussion by leaving a comment below.




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