Junk mail is a waste of time, a waste of trees and a potential identity theft risk, so let’s put a stop to it. Here’s how to get your name off all those direct marketers’ mailing lists, so you have one less source of clutter in your life.
Get Off Catalog Mailing Lists
Catalogs take up a lot of space in your mailbox and on your coffee table. Get rid of the ones you don’t want by registering for an account at DMAchoice.org. It’s a website run by the Data & Marketing Association to give consumers control over the mail they receive. Unsubscribe from specific catalogs, or unsubscribe from receiving all catalogs. This will remove you from the mailing list of companies that you’ve never bought from, but it won’t unsubscribe you from the companies that you do buy from. If you choose the unsubscribe from all option, this should prevent your name from being rented or sold by companies in the future. This website also allows you to opt out of receiving magazine offers, donation requests and credit card offers, so it’s a big help in taming junk mail. You’ll have to pay $2 when you register, but that’ll give you access to the website for 10 years.
Want to get off the mailing list of catalog companies that you no longer buy from? You could call their toll-free number to make your request, but you’ll save time, if you use CatalogChoice.org. This non-profit allows you to select all the catalogs that you’d like to unsubscribe from; then, they make the request on your behalf. This is a free service, so it’s definitely worth taking advantage of.
Want all catalogs out of your mailbox for good? Then, you also need to opt out of Epsilon’s marketing databases. Their Abacus database is used by almost all catalog companies. Just send your request to email@example.com, along with your name and mailing address. This will get you off the list, if you live in the U.S. or Canada.
Expect it to take 6-8 weeks to stop receiving catalogs from a company, after you make your unsubscribe request.
Put a Stop to Credit Card Offers
All of those pre-approved credit card offers that land in your mailbox create clutter and put you at risk for identity theft. Go to optoutprescreen.com to get off the list that creditors and insurance companies use to send these types of offers. You can opt out for five years or permanently. When you submit your request, all four consumer credit reporting companies will be notified. Note that this will not prevent any credit card or insurance companies that you already do business with from sending you offers. You’ll need to contact those companies directly to request that they not send you promotional mailings.
Get Off Charity Mailing Lists
Donate to one charity and suddenly you’re on the mailing list of every charity known to man. That’s great if you want a lifetime supply of free address labels, but otherwise, it’s just more junk to sort through. If you don’t want all those donation requests, start by telling any charity that you donate to that they may not rent, sell or trade your name, address or giving history. Then, work to get off the mailing list of any organization that’s already sending you mail. Have the mailer you received with you when you call. It’s likely to have a code on the mailing label or reply materials that can be used to identify whom they got your information from. Make sure they tell you which charity gave them your info, so you can call that charity up and request that your info no longer be shared.
It also doesn’t hurt to opt out of receiving donation requests at DMAchoice.org. There aren’t many charities that belong to the Direct Marketing Association, but this will take care of the ones that do.
Okay with receiving mail from the charities that you donate to, but just want to receive less of it? Call them up and tell them so. If they want to continue to receive donations from you, they should honor your request.
Opt Out of Local Junk Mail Inserts
If you don’t have any use for those local junk mail flyers that get stuffed in your mailbox, they’re easy to get rid of. Just fill out the mailing list removal form at Valpak.com and at Redplum.com. RetailMeNot recently purchased Redplum, so this is where you’ll want to go to get rid of those RetailMeNot Everyday mailers.
Stop Receiving Phone Books
Business phone numbers are easy to look up online these days, so having a copy of the Yellow Pages just isn’t as essential as it used to be. If you’re no longer interested in receiving phone books, you can opt out of delivery at yellowpagesoptout.com. Just enter your zip code, and the website will return a list of all the directories that are distributed in your area. Opt out of one or all of them. This is a permanent opt out, so you only have to do it once.
Canadians can opt out at delivery.yp.ca.
Remove Your Name From Political Mailing Lists
Always get hit with tons of political mail in the months leading up to an election? Since there’s no mechanism to opt out of all political mailings, you’ll need to contact each organization that’s sending you mail to ask that you be removed from their mailing list. You can do this by calling them at the phone number that they provided in their mailer, or by sending their pre-paid envelope back with a note requesting that your name be removed.
Some states allow you to opt out of political mailings when you register to vote, so be sure to look for that option the next time you update your registration.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to put a stop to all that mail that comes addressed to “current resident.” It’s just too profitable for the postal service. Your best bet is to politely ask your mailman not to put it in your box. You’ll probably still get it on their days off (since the substitute mailman won’t know your preference), but that’s still a big improvement.