Don’t you hate when you go to the mail box and all you see is advertisements, credit card applications and postcards from businesses you didn’t even know existed? I even stopped going to the mail box everyday because that’s what you find in there most of the time – junk mail. Junk mail is so popular, it even has it’s place in the Merriam Webster Dictionary and is defined as unsolicited mail that consists mainly of promotional materials, catalogs, and requests for donations. Now a days you can also add unsolicited advertising or promotional material received in e-mail. Some studies show the average American will spend 7-9 months of his life opening junk mail. Keep in mind that is the average number and some spend even more time going through it.
I am the type of person who has to take a look at every piece of mail, if I don’t I might miss something, but many have learned to art of throwing it out right away. Then there are those that let it pile up and up and up until it becomes a new piece of furniture. Regardless, if you refrain from opening your junk mail or you put it off to the side, you still have to spend time looking at it, realizing it’s junk, tossing it, and carrying it to the curb or placing it in the perfect spot in your home, until you get around to it. We all know how “when I get around to it” can go….
So how can you reduce the time you spend with junk mail. Here are five steps to get you started:
1) Reality Check. Some of us are in denial and we think, “I really don’t get that much junk mail.” Hmm… You don’t huh? For 30 days keep all your junk mail in a pile. You can use a small basket or shoe box and see how much you really get. After a month you might be shocked at what you find. Knowing how much you receive will show you just how much time, on average, you spend with junk mail and you will also have a better idea of the success of you reduction efforts since you will know where you started from.
2) What are you actually receiving. Now that you have 30 days worth of junk mail saved, take time to go through each piece of mail. Ask yourself is there any value in receiving it. If not, do they have a web address or phone number you can call and ask to be taken off the mailing list. When calling, you will want to have the mail available to provide the codes that are on the label. Having the information can speed up the process. Many companies are allowing you to opt-out online so you can go to their website and try as well.
3) Check your privacy settings. Many companies sell your information to other companies or share with subsidiary companies. Banks, cable companies, investment companies, and credit card companies do it all the time. They often send you letters about this, once or twice a year but since it looks like junk mail we often never read it or just trash it. You can contact the company and request that your information not be shared.
4) Opt-out direct mail/e-mail marketing. DMA Choice is the best site to visit for opting out of direct mail marketing and email marketing. They also provide valuable information about direct mail as well as consumer guides. You do have to set up a free account but it doesn’t take long and will definitely reduce the amount of junk mail you receive. Visit the site at – www.DMAChoice.org to opt out.
5) Eliminate Credit Card Offers. You can eliminate most of the credit card offers you receive by going to www.optoutprescreen.com or calling 1-888-567-8688. The opt-out period is 5 years or you can opt-out permanently by submitting a signed application.
Know that for some companies it may take about 30 days for you to be removed from their database. There may already be a mailing prepared to go out in the weeks following your request but you should see a difference in the next month.
It’s time to stop letting junk mail take over your life. Take action today! Start by saving your junk mail for 30 days. Then follow the steps to see how much you can eliminate. After about two months, save the junk mail your receive for another 30 days and see how much has been reduced; I think you will be surprised! Two added benefits – you can reduce the threat of identity theft and you can help save the environment by reducing the amount of wasted paper. If you try it, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how the strategy helped you. Don’t let junk mail be a burden for you anymore – eliminate it today!