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Eliminate Annoying Junk Mail

"Each year, more than 100 million trees’ worth of bulk mail arrive in American mailboxes—that’s the equivalent of deforesting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every four months. The production and disposal of direct mail consumes more energy than 3 million cars."

Not only is junk mail utterly wasteful...
It's also utterly annoying!

But there IS a way to drastically reduce it.

How do all of these companies get your mailing address anyway? Here are just a few methods:
  • by purchasing something online and entering your shipping address
  • when you apply for any type of credit, the 3 major bureaus now have your address on file
  • by subscribing to a magazine or newspaper
  • by entering a contest (by mail, phone, or online)
  • if your order something out of a catalog, they can sell your address to other companies
  • whenever you buy a car
  • if you donate to an organization/charity
So, the first step in reducing your junk mail is to be aware of how you get on these lists in the first place and, going forward, try to avoid giving out your address whenever possible.

(if you haven't already done so, check out TASK #1: User Guides & Converting to Paperless Statements in my "No More Office Clutter" Series)

 TASK #2 (30mins)

Your second task in eliminating office clutter is to reduce incoming junk mail:
  1. Download my FREE "Junk Mail" Excel Worksheet here
  2. The first goal is to only check your mailbox ONCE PER WEEK
    • Do it on a day & time when you will have a few minutes to dedicate your attention to it immediately.  This should become a life-long habit!
    • If your mailbox fills up before one week has passed, just check it when it's full. Eventually, by getting rid of excess junk mail (and by switching to paperless billing), you'll reduce your incoming mail to the point of being able to check it only once a week.
  3. Sort your mail into 2 piles:
    • Items to Keep (place these aside for now)
    • Junk Mail (this should include catalogs, credit card offers, anything unsolicited, etc)
  4. For each piece of junk mail, enter as much info as possible onto the Excel Worksheet
  5. When you're finished, shred and/or recycle the pile of junk mail
  6. AT THE END OF THE MONTH (this is the most important step): schedule 30 mins when you can work on this project, completely undisturbed. Put it in your calendar - it will help keep you accountable to yourself.
    • You will need to schedule it on a weekday during 9-5ET (as that is when most companies are available by phone)
    • Using the contact info on your Excel Worksheet, call each company and tell them that you want to be taken off of their mailing list. Most companies will do this without a fight. If you have any problems, ask to speak to a manager.
    • Be sure to mark down the "Date Cancelled" on your Excel Worksheet
  7. Continue steps 2 thru 6 every month (or every other month) until you stop receiving Junk Mail

For most companies, it will take at least 1 month before you stop receiving their mail - even though you've been taken off their list. This is why it's important to mark down the "Date Cancelled" for referencing later.

There are also online services you can use like:
These companies have varying degrees of success -- proceed cautiously!

NOTE:  it is virtually impossible to stop ALL junk mail. There will always be a few items sent to "Current Resident" or new companies trying to get your business, however, you should be able to eliminate up to 90% of it. Eliminating that much junk mail will save you tons of time, and it will save the planet tons of trees!

Have you tried any other methods of reducing junk mail? Were they successful or not? Share your experiences with everyone below....


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