Business

Stop junk mail, catalogs, and credit offers from clogging your mailbox

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Apparently the holidays are in full swing: Our mailbox is chockablock with a steadily increasing number of catalogs, flyers, and other unwanted detritus every day.

There’s really nothing like a wasted trip to the mailbox, either, especially as it’s getting colder outside. So, if you’re looking to cut down on dubious mail, here’s a handful of places you can go to opt out.

general junk mail

DMA stands for the Direct Marketing Association, and its website, DMAchoice.org, is an excellent first stop in your mailbox decluttering journey.

There are a couple of things to know about this service. First, it costs $4. Second, it only lasts 10 years for that $4.

Third, it’s a nuclear option. There’s no choosing to allow mail based on certain categories or stores you might like.

That’s probably not a huge issue, as the promise here is to “stop all unsolicited promotional mail”—ie, mail you never asked for in the first place.

There’s a similar no-cost site run by a competing marketing group—DirectMail.com—that lets you choose which types of marketing mail you still want to receive. It has a helpful nuclear checkbox right at the top as well.

Catalogue

Free and fantastic, CatalogChoice.org helps you put a stop to all those mailbox-clogging catalogs.

Simply sign up, enter the addresses and names for which you want to control catalogs, then click the Cancel a Catalog link in the top nav bar to start the process.

You’ll need to search for the catalog in question, denote the name and address on its label, and that’s about it.

Lag time for actual cancellation can take up to a couple of months, but it works.

Credit card and insurance offers

Tell me if this sounds familiar: “You’re prequalified for a new credit card with no interest for 12 months!”

pass. The OptOutPrescreen.com site is the official site to opt out of credit card and insurance offers.

You have three choices: a laughable option to opt in, a way to electronically opt out for five years, or a cumbersome permanent opt-out that requires you print out and mail a form as though it were the 1970s.

I lean on the five-year electronic opt-out, which entails entering your name, address, social security number, and date of birth. If you’re not skittish about entering such data into your browser, then five years of relative peace is your reward.

Other options

This will vary based on where you live, but check if your local junk mail company—ours, for example, is Valpak—has an opt-out option (Valpak does) by Googling “opt out” and the name of the company.

There’s also a for-pay service called PaperKarma that will opt out of junk on your behalf. Pricing starts at $4 a month on up to $60 for a lifetime subscription. It’s also got a handy, free directory you can use to manually opt out of mail from specific companies.

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