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How to Manage (and Banish) Junk Mail

Man looking at several pieces of ad mail as he leans on his mailbox.
GWImages/Shutterstock

You open the mailbox, and it’s full of junk mail that ends up stacked on your counter until it’s falling over. Here’s how to manage junk mail—and put a stop to the seemingly endless supply of it.

Manage Junk Mail

When junk mail arrives in your mailbox, try to deal with it immediately. Don’t stack it on the counter or mix it up with the mail you want or need to keep.

Pre-sorted and Direct Marketing Mail

You can throw away pre-sorted mail (like local coupons and circulars) immediately if you don’t use them. This includes any of the stuff that comes to your address without your name on it.

You might find out if any of your neighbors, friends, or family members use the coupons and pass them on. But they’re probably swimming in the same junk mail you are, so don’t be surprised if no one is interested.

If you recycle, toss these in the bin (though you may want to check if your local recycling service accepts glossy mailers).

Magazines and Mail Addressed to You

There’s also mail you request or subscribe to that you might look at once, like magazines and catalogs. And then there’s mail addressed directly to you that you didn’t ask for and don’t want.

Recycle what you can (if you can). Shred anything that comes with your name on it before you recycle or toss it in the trash. You can use shredded mail as packing material when you send packages.

If you receive magazines you don’t want, you can recycle them or see if anyone else wants them. Although it’s not as common as it used to be, preschool and elementary school teachers often need magazines for kids to cut up for craft projects.

Banish Junk Mail

If you get so much junk mail you’re tired of managing it (or if you just want to save some trees), there are some things you can do to banish and stop junk mail.

From preapproved credit card notices and insurance companies who want your business to typical junk mail flyers, there are some things you can do to cut down what you get in the mail.

Ditch Consumer Reporting Companies

Much of the junk mail that arrives in your mailbox might be coming from companies that purchased your address from a consumer reporting company. This is how those numerous credit card and insurance offers arrive in your mailbox.

When it comes to dropping this mail, you have a couple of options. You can do a five-year or permanent opt-out—go to optoutprescreen.com for both options. The steps on the site differ depending on whether you want to go the permanent route.

Ditch Direct Marketing

You can also register online to deal with direct marketing mail for anyone in your household. At DMAchoice.org, you can request a change in what arrives in your mailbox. This is also where you go if you still receive mail for a deceased family member.

Use Direct Contact

You can contact the companies from which you receive junk mail directly and ask how you can remove yourself from their mailing lists. This is especially beneficial if you still receive junk mail even after you’ve tried the other, more permanent steps above.

Find the contact info online for the places that send you this mail, and then call or email them. Cancel subscriptions to magazines you no longer want to receive, even if you get them for free.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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