It’s evident to anyone who has a mailbox that we’re being bombarded by paper each and every day. I’m sometimes shocked at the sheer volume of it all. Paper is something that most of my clients struggle with in their homes. Let’s face it – it’s not exciting to sort, file, shred, and recycle paper – we’ve all got more pressing things to be doing. With piles and piles coming in, it adds to our stress level and threatens to throw us into disorganization pretty quickly.
What to do about all of this junk mail? Well, there is no surefire cure, but there are a few things you CAN do to stop…or at least slow it at its source!
What is junk mail?
- Unwanted or unsolicited mail
- Third class mail consisting of advertising
- Usually labeled “Resident” or “Occupant”
- Unsolicited requests from charities – contain stickers/calendars
How to reduce the daily onslaught!
You can contact the following directly and request that they do not sell, rent, or exchange your name, address, or personal information with anyone:
- Banks that issue you credit cards. Ask to be on the “in-house” mailing list. Also, request specifically that they do not send you those blank checks – Those things make me lose sleep at night…imagine those getting into the wrong hands?
- Your mortgage company.
- Your insurance company.
- Catalog companies (info usually on back of catalog). If you’re looking to reduce a bunch in one sitting, you can also use this site to lookup catalogs you wish to stop, https://catalogchoice.org/
If you receive junk mail with the following on the envelope (return service requested, forwarding service requested, address service requested, or change service requested) write "refused, return to sender" on the unopened envelope and put back in mailbox.
Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
DMA provides a method for consumers to opt out of various kinds of direct marketing, including credit and insurance offers by mail, catalogs, and other direct mail offers.
- This can be found at www.DMAChoice.org
- Consumers can also log complaints at this website.
- Need to Talk to Someone? - Customer Service: 212-768-7277, ext. 1888
Other info available on the DMA site includes:
- How to get off lists
- Identity theft information
- Sweepstakes information
- Removing deceased individual’s names
Opting out of Pre-Screened Offers
www.OptOutPrescreen.com is the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry website to accept and process requests from consumers to Opt-in or Opt-out of firm offers of credit or insurance. 1-888-567-8688 (that's 888-5OPT-OUT)
Do you ever second guess whether you’ve already donated to a charity? They are counting on it! They will continue to send mailings in hope of repeat donations. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of contributing what you can afford, but you don’t want to find out at the end of the year that you’ve gone way over what you intended to contribute.
- Working within your decided charitable budget, decide which charities you’ll contribute to and how much – Then keep a list so you won’t contribute more than you intend!
- Toss repeat mailings, or better yet, ask the charity to limit solicitations to once a year! I start to wonder about how well a charity is using their funds by sending all of these mailings and accompanying “freebies”. As a donor, I would feel much better if they spent donations on the intended recipients instead of additional mailings, etc.
- When donating, include a written request asking the charity not to sell, rent, or exchange your name, address, and donation history to any other organizations.
Your Contribution to the problem (ahem, yes you!)
- Be mindful about “collecting” paper brochures, flyers, etc. – resist the “shiny” unless it is relevant to your world!
- Be realistic about whether you will have time to read magazines and catalogs and toss/cancel accordingly. See, you’ve already saved time and money!
Is the paper in YOUR life taking over?
I regularly work with clients to get their paper under control and develop systems for moving forward. I’ve whipped many a home office into shape and can help you set up a functional and efficient command center if that’s where the paperwork needs to land!
I’d love to work with you to restore order to your paper-cluttered surfaces! – or in any room that needs attention. Never worked with a professional organizer before? It’s not as scary as it sounds – just call me to discuss any projects you’re considering. We can chat, strategize, and see if we’re a good fit. The call is complimentary – so you have nothing to lose.