Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Battling The Junk Mail Monster

There are a lot of easy things we can all do to save the planet, change a lightbulb, drive less, recycle, but some things that should be easy like stopping unwanted mail are much harder than you'd think.

For the last 3 years I have been waging an all out war on junk mail. Every day when I get the mail, I make a pile of all the stuff that is unsolicited. I then call each and every sender of mail and remove myself from their mailing lists. Stopping some were easier than others. Bed Bath and Beyond is pretty simple, so is RedPlum. Others like Time Warner Cable's advertisements are nearly impossible.

This war on junk mail started to become an obsession after my husband and I moved to a new apartment. Suddenly I was back to square one. All of the mail I finally stopped from coming to my previous apartment was coming to the new one. I found myself spending an hour or more on the phone every time I went to the mailbox. Finally, I decided to enlist some help. is my mercenary army. The crew there tells me they will stop 85% or more of my junkmail from getting to my mailbox. Think of all the hours I'll have back! Another nice thing about 41 pounds is the extra tips they have given me on stopping junk mail.

1. NEVER fill out a change of address form with the post office. The post office sells that information. I was shocked when I found this out. 41 pounds says to instead fill out a temporary mail forwarding request and notify all the important parties about your move.

2. You can stop unwanted phone books - protects your online identity and opts you out of books at the same time. It's totally free. You do have to use your real phone number though. That's how the phone book companies keep track of whether they're actually opting you out or not.

3. Never send in those little warranty cards that come with a product. I think most people know better, but still.

4. Whenever you give your information to a charity or company, request that they not sell or give your information to anyone.

Since I just started with 41 pounds, I'm excited to see how well it works. So far, the company has sent me a stack of opt out cards for lists that require my signature to remove me from their lists. I sent those off in the mail. I'll post an update in a few months with information about how well it works.