Did you know that junk mail kills 2.6 million trees every year? And that every U.S. household gets 6 pieces of junk mail each day?
Think about it: credit card offers, coupons, and flyers. Each piece may be small, but they add up to a lot of trees and a lot of time shredding or tossing for you.
And that's even if you get around to it. ost people tend to let junk mail just pile up.
How to manage mail gets trickier every year as more and more companies pay to access our personal information.
Here are 8 tips to help you to stop junk mail or at least manage it on a daily basis.
1. Always uncheck the mailing list box.
The next time you sign up for something--a service, a subscription, etc--make sure you specify what you're signing up to receive. Many times companies will package in subscriptions to free newsletter and coupon deals. Make sure to note you only want the subscription you specified and uncheck any boxes for subscriptions you do not want to receive.
2. Don't enter yourself into contest without reading the fine print.
Follow some guidelines to protect your privacy. Signing up for a contest says to the company "I want to hear from you in the future." If you must, mark your entry "please do not subscribe me to any mailing lists." Here are some guidelines on how to protect your privacy.
3. Use 1-888-5 OPT OUT.
Call 1-888-5 OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688) and have your name removed from the credit agencies' lists.
This will opt you out for five years.
4. Opt out permanently.
To opt out permanently you can process your request online at www.optoutprescreen.com. First you request to be placed on the permanent opt-out list, then they send you a form you must return with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
4. Call catalogs and opt out.
Set aside time each quarter (I do this the day after Thanksgiving every year) to call the companies whose catalogs you receive and ask them to take you off their mailing list.
I do this every year on Black Friday (aka, the day after Thanksgiving -- it just feel fitting).
NOTE: In my experience, this may not work for long, I'm convinced that if I am ever kidnapped and spirited out of the country, J. Crew, Restoration Hardware, and Bloomingdales will be able to track my whereabouts down.
5. Instead of shopping, spend Black Friday decluttering your mail and inbox.
Each year on Black Friday I skip the stores and purge, purge, purge. First, I get my holiday card list ready; I unsubscribe from catalogs, credit card company offers, etc. I spend 20-30 minutes on the phone getting my name and address removed from their lists. It feels great and is a much better use of my time on a holiday weekend.
6. Set up automatic bull payment or request e-bills.
While not technically junk mail, your bills can accumulate and turn into a big old pile of paper clutter. Why not set up automatic bill payment or to receive your bills as e-bills? This will cut down on not just junk mail, but paper mail in general.
7. Remind companies you do business with of your mail preferences.
While you are opting out, remind the companies you want to hear from of your mail preferences. Maybe you prefer email? Or to only receive one catalog a year from them? Let them know!
8. Have a plan to discard junk mail immediately so it doesn’t pile up.
I shred my mail as soon as I open it. Most of the time I can shred items without even opening them. Get in the habit of disposing of your junk mail right away so it doesn’t pile up and become a clutter eyesore.