Put Your Mailbox On The Non-Consumer Diet

by Katy on December 22, 2008 · 3 comments



My hometown of Portland, Oregon is experiencing a snowy winter wonderland the likes of which has not been seen for 40 years. (It was fun a week ago, less so with each passing stuck-at-home day.)

My entrepreneurial ten-year-old went door to door today charging $2 to shovel the neighbor’s stairs and walkways. I was happy to see a whole block of safe porch steps for Jeff, our mail-carrier. I was even happier to see that Jeff bypassed our house, as he often does.

This is because we pretty much get zero junk mail. There are often two or three days per week when we get no mail.

We accomplished this minor miracle through a few different methods:

Catalogs – We called the toll-free customer service numbers on the backs of all the catalogs we were receiving, and asked to be removed from their mailing lists. Easy.

Credit Card Offers – I had tried for years to stop these almost daily solicitations to no avail. Then I discovered optoutprescreen.com, which a free service that allows you to either opt-in, (yes – please send me a mountain of offers), or opt-out, (enough already, no more credit card offers!) This seems to have finally curbed all credit card offers. 

Keep in mind that credit card offers peeking out of your mailbox are an enticing treat to identity thieves. The best offense is a good defense.

Random Junk Mail – My husband and I both signed up for Forest Ethic’s Do Not Mail List, which really made a difference. This free service is available for one and all, and I recommend it highly.

Electronic Billing – We get almost all our bills electronically. Not only does this save the paper, (and the plastic window) that we would normally be receiving, but it has completely eliminated the anxiety about whether we were getting bills paid on time. I put off doing this for a long time, as I was worried not having control over the bills.

I can’t say enough about how much I love no longer having to pay bills with a checkbook and pen. (Not to mention the savings on stamps.) I’m actually more on top of my bills, because we get an e-mail notification when each bill is first available, which has a link to the  vendor’s website. I can then look at trends and gather important information.

Some of my readers have raved about the services offered by myjunktree.com. This company offers one-stop service to stop all unwanted mail. The cost at this time is $20 for three years. It actually sounds like a great service, but I was able to accomplish the same thing for free, and on my own.

For those who are interested, the company outlines their services as:


  • Stop unwanted catalogs over 1300 to choose from.
  • Over 5700 charities/Non-Profits that you can stop solicitations from.
  • Stop the delivery of phone directories.
  • Stop the delivery of the weekly coupons.
  • Stop credit card offers
  • Protect Your identity form Theft and Fraud
  • Stop postal junk mail from the data brokers.
  • Register on the National Do Not Call Registry.
  • Order your free annual credit report.
  • 5 Trees planted every new membership.
  • $20 for a 3 year membership!

    So whether you choose to do the legwork of stopping unwanted mail on your own, or go the myjunktree.com route, you’ll be doing yourself, a tree and your mail-carrier a favor.

    Have you tried any of these tactics? Any tips you want to add? Please share them in the comments section below.

    Katy Wolk-Stanley
    “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    livnletlrn December 23, 2008 at 3:46 am

    I’ve done all, with the exception of the Forest Ethics thing, and we too receive very little mail. I also think an important factor is that we buy so much less than many people, as with every purchase, you’re automatically added to the catalog/mailing list of that company, which can then sell your name to other companies, which then do the same. Since we buy very little at actual retail stores (other than Goodwill ;-), we’re just not on the catalog-senders’ radar. And if I do make a purchase somewhere and a single catalog ends up in my mailbox, I immediately call the toll-free number and ask to be removed from their mailing list. I figure that saves me from receiving future catalogs from that company and who knows how many others that they’d eventually send my name to.

    I also tacked a note to my mailbox, requesting that the free local newspaper (it’s called the Reminder) *not* be delivered here, since it’s delivered by a person, not through the mail service, and they are told to leave one hanging on every mailbox. That works most of the time too.


    Pat December 23, 2008 at 7:25 am

    I have had great luck using http://www.catalogchoice.org to get rid of unwanted junkmail catalogs. If I could just get AARP to quit sending so much stuff. I get double copies of their monthly magazine and renewal notices (at least twice a month) all year long! Does anyone have any suggestions?


    Magdalena December 23, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    A couple of moves got rid of most of of our junk mail, but that’s an extreme measure! We don’t have credit cards and maintain just the simple, necessary bank account for pay deposits, so that keeps us out of the solicitation loop. In Canada, anyone can put anything in your mail box anytime, so it’s not the postal service here that leaves most of the junk and flyers, but local delivery persons. “No junk” on the box doesn’t seem to work! As for AARP, other people I’ve known have complained about that, such as my grandparents, who were completely stumped on things like junk mail. I wonder how many other very elderly people get mail that don’t want but can’t stop.


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