Home Forums Work Your Office Decluttering Junk Mail

This topic contains 22 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  Astreja 6 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #159353

    Parsifal
    Member

    Any tips on stopping the ceaseless flow of dead tree advertisements to my mailbox? I try to avoid giving out my address whenever possible and I always opt out of ads, but I still get junk mail from certain companies (Citibank, AT&T) that I do business with. I can’t see any alternative other than switching to other services that will probably do the same thing.

    Yesterday Citibank set a new record: they sent me an ad for the card they just revoked, and another ad for the card they replaced it with, which I already have! On the same day, no less.

  • #188025

    Mimi
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    have you tried to contact these companies? i have done that, saying “i don´t want to recieve any paper from you again” in more polite words but very clear. it works 🙂

  • #188026

    loripax
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    There really isn’t a lot you can do with companies you do business with, other than contacting them to request to be removed from their marketing lists and hoping that someone there gives a carp. As you’ve noted, almost all companies do this kind of thing, to one degree or another. And many companies don’t have the system set up to opt customers out. But I take the time once every couple of months to make the request, hoping that one of these days they’ll get the message.

    That said, going with local companies where possible instead of national behemoths with marketing armies can help. My local bank doesn’t send out this carp, and the bonus is I get a better rate and service than with any of the nationals.

  • #188037

    Irulan
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    I don’t know how much dropping Citi will help. If you live in the U.S., then I believe companies that you did business with previously can still contact you. Do you have access to the privacy policy from these companies? There should be opt-out phone numbers for any of the “optional” marketing areas (e.g., 3rd party advertising). The people at those numbers are more helpful about general opt-outs than regular customer service.

  • #188043

    JuliaJayne
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    If you live in the US, you can opt out of getting credit card offers in the mail.

    http://www.ehow.com/how_5620221_stop-credit-card-solicitation.html

    Edited to add the FTC link for more information

    http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt063.shtm

  • #188050

    Irulan
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    Opt-out prescreen only works for companies that have never had a business relationship with you. It does work well for those preapproved offers that are identity-theft magnets.

  • #188063

    Ella
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    Here’s an excellent resource:

    http://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail/index.cfm

  • #188066

    chacha1
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    Catalog Choice is great for getting rid of catalog junk mail.

  • #188081

    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    This problem will depend on where you live, as the rules are different. If you have a government based “Do Not Write” and “Do Not Call” register, sign up. In Australia, they will fine companies that send unsolicited mail. If the company has the option to unsubscribe in the fine print at the end, contact them and do so. If not, ring them and ask them to stop.

    If they continue, send the letter back, with a couple of newspapers (or more!!!) for extra bulk in a parcel marked “Postage COD’ or using the freepost address on the return envelope. I have never had to go this far, but it is my evil plan if I am pushed by companies that flout my wishes! Don’t mess with the Tiger!!

  • #188096

    fredsmith
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    Yes, you can reduce junk mail. I’m in the middle of doing this for myself. I’m using the kit from http://www.stopjunkmail.org/ Besides some of the things mentioned above and more, it has sample letters you can use to send to businesses telling them to stop sending you junk mail.

    I did this for my elderly dad a few years ago (75 pieces a month!) and it worked quite well.

    What I did was save a month’s worth of junk mail first so I knew what I was dealing with, then I tackled it en masse.

    I only have 35 pieces a month to deal with – about half of them are credit card offers. Apparently if you’re on the credit card opt-in list, you’ll get credit card offers whether you’ve had a card with that company or not.

  • #188098

    snosie
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    Great idea jackthetiger – I too ring companies here is Oz (even those I do business with) and tersely tell them not to send me any marketing ONLY the invoice/bill etc

  • #188099

    Parsifal
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    I’ll give those suggestions a try. I always try to opt out of any kind of mail – especially since my credit union charged me $5 for sending me a book of coupons that got returned in the mail – but I’ve actually had phone reps argue with me when I told them ‘I do not want to get any more mail from your company ever again since I pay all my bills online’.

  • #188102

    Mimi
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    parsifal, you are the customer, they have to serve you. these people on the phone are trained to argue with you, trained for every argument that you could say. if you discuss, they will win. so just don´t discuss. my suggestion are clear words like: i don´t want to discuss with you. i just don´t want you to send me any papers. and then wait. if they argue, repeat: i don´t want any more mails. etc. don´t answer to their questions. just repeat your wish. maybe you can add: is this possible or not? if they talk a lot: repeat: is it possible or not: YES or NO?
    be brave 😉 it´s worth it.

  • #188116

    Emilie
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    I get, max, one piece of mail a month. But I’ve been trying to help my mom with this, because she gets maybe 20 pieces of mail A DAY, mostly junk. A lot of these are medical journals that she doesn’t want, but doesn’t know how to opt out of. It seems like most of the junk mail-cessation advice involves getting on the Direct Mail Association’s “do not mail” list, but I did this for her a few months ago, and have seen no difference in overall catalog volume–maybe the individual catalogs change, but new ones are always appearing to replace the old ones. It’s hard to know what to make of the situation because while she expresses extreme overwhelm at the amount of mail she gets, and is happy to have me help her, she doesn’t want (or doesn’t feel able) to take any steps herself to reduce her amount of mail. Maybe I should just mind my own business, although our dining room is kind of drowning in mail all the time. Sorry, totally off-topic!

  • #188118

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    I get frustrated by the junk mail as well. We are bombarded in so many different ways and I feel that unsolicited mail is an invasion of privacy. (I know by law it’s not, but that’s how I feel). At work we get tons of catalogues – sometimes three of the same ones with a different employee’s name on it. I put the catalogues aside and when I have a spare moment I call the company and ask to be taken off of the mailing list.

  • #188124

    Ella
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    I used to work for a small nonprofit arts organization. We did frequent mailings for fundraising, with a postage-paid envelope inside. Most respondents were friendly supporters of the organization, but a few people seemed to be acting out their
    pent-up hostility toward junk mail. We got some horribly vicious responses in those postage-paid envelopes, including several filled with our letters reduced to confetti. One thicker envelope contained a dead mouse that had been flattened through the postal meter! While I’m not recommending such a measure, it was certainly effective. We removed that person immediately from our mailing list.

  • #188126

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    @Ella – That is horrible! I like the idea of returning the mail in the postage-paid envelope but I can’t believe someone put a dead mouse in there. So gross!

    Also, I would never do that to a non-profit organization. My frustration falls on the excessive Geico, Allstate, and State Farm solicitations I receive. Even though I hate to admit it I’m an insurance agent myself (hoping to change careers) and seeing those things when I get home just annoys me!

  • #188165

    Parsifal
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    Wow… my situation isn’t that bad. For me, Citibank is the worst offender followed closely by AT&T. One sends me adverts for services they won’t actually sell me, the other for services I already have!

    In my experience the only thing that really cuts down on junk mail and sales calls is time. It used to be the case that after 3-6 months of consciously ignoring the phone, calls would drop off to perhaps one a week. Now that robo-callers are a lot more popular, the flood just never seems to stop.

    I’ll see if getting on the latest do-not-mail list will have any impact, but I’ll have moved by the time it does and the cycle will start all over again.

    One last tip – I urge everyone to avoid those online ‘search’ services for insurance, movers, cleaners and so on. All these sites do is put you on every mailing and calling list in the world. Just use your search engine of choice to find potential businesses yourself. The last time I applied for insurance online the first call came in 5 minutes later (really) and the calls didn’t stop for six months!

  • #188169

    Jackthetiger
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    Ella, That is really horrible for the people opening the letters, and for the posties and sorters who handled it. I am very firm with junk mailers, but never offensive. I also try to find out which listing service was used to gain my details. They can be contacted and told that you will report them unless they remove you from the list.

  • #188187

    Ella
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    Jack, tell me about it! After the screaming subsided, we let the poor girl who opened that envelope have the rest of the day off. It’s a good reminder that no matter how large or small the junkmailing company, there’s an actual person (probably some hapless, low-wage worker) who has to handle our requests for removal. So be kind.

  • #188188

    loripax
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    Ew. Although I have been highly, highly irritated at organizations that refuse requests to remove me from their lists, I would never go as far as sticking a dead mouse in there. Ew.

    There’s one local charity that makes me so incredibly mad. I gave them $10 once at the request of a friend who was doing a charity walk or something, and I have been *bombarded* ever since. Every single week an envelope stuffed with a four-color letter, brochure, donation form, envelope, sometimes address labels or other useless carp, for *years* on end. They will not stop. They’ve probably spent $100, thus nullifying my donation x10. After repeated requests through normal channels did nothing, I wrote directly to the head of the charity. Still nothing.

    Hmmmmm… we *do* have a lot of mice around here…

  • #201938

    LabbieLady
    Member

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    This is my biggest struggle. I can never seem to get a handle on the mail. I feel like it consumes my life! I don’t have a solution…I just wish I had the discipline to go through the mail EVERY day and not let it pile up. Ugh!

  • #201984

    Astreja
    Participant

    Decluttering Junk Mail

    @LabbieLady: I recommend the Brooks Palmer approach of tackling clutter one item at a time (deal with only 1 piece of mail, and only when it’s done deal with the next one), and also the Zen Habits approach of working on only one new habit at a time.

    Multitasking does not work. Period. I used to *think* I could multitask, but the amount of time lost in task switching just adds to the work burden. It’s also more stressful in the long run.

    If you do a little bit on the mail every day (preferably at about the same time of day, in the same place), in time you’ll make it into a habit, and the habit itself will provide the discipline.

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