How to Stop Junk Mail from Getting Delivered to Your House
I'm Sick and Tired of Getting so Much Junk Mail
I've had it! My home mailbox is getting filled with catalogs, credit card offers, and fliers. I get so much junk mail, I can hardly tell what is real mail. Here's what I did to cut back and almost get rid of all my mail entirely.
Step 1: Go to Paperless Statements
The first step I did was go to all my real bill providers and sign up for the paperless options, setup eBills and automatic payments.
For me, paperless statements are offered by almost all my providers:
- Checking accounts
- Credit cards
- Power companies (PG&E)
- Cable including internet (Comcast)
My checking account from Schwab was helpful with setting this up. They show which of my bills have eBill services. EBills notify you in the bill pay section that you have a new eBill and you can view the statement and pay it all online with no statements getting delivered in the mail.
A few credit cards offered paperless statements, but didn't offer eBills integrated with Schwab (like my Chase credit card) that I found annoying. It's important to me to pay my bills on time and efficiently, so I opted to set up automatic payments through each provider that didn't offer eBills. I lose a bit of the ease of reviewing, but they will nolonger send a paper statement.
The only reoccurring bill I can't get a paperless statement from is my water bill. I'm hoping I can set that bill up to be paid automatically so I don't have to look out for it in the mail.
Step #2: Opt out of all the Junk Mail Offers You Can (Catalogs, Magazines, Credit Card and Bank Offers)
The next step is opt out of all the junk mail you can. There is a service (DMAChoice) that costs a one time fee of $2 that law-abiding marketers use to honor opt-outs. They will remove from major offers of catalogs, magazines, credit cards and other offers. If you opt out, they should respect it. I was leery of a service that costs money, but after research, I decided it was a trustworthy organization.
There is one piece of the service I didn't like. To opt out for a lifetime of credit card offers, you had to print and mail forms in ironically. I did most of this on my phone, so I instead chose the five-year option for the financial information. I wish there was an online process that supported a lifetime opt-out option.
This service should reduce significantly the number of credit card offers that come in the mail, but it won't stop all of the local offers and resident offers.
There doesn't appear to be a way to do this, so it seems unlikely that I can stop getting junk mail altogether, but at least I should be able to significantly reduce it.
Step #3: Stop Receiving Catalogs and other Junk Mail
So, this is a bit contentious and a bit duplicative with DMAChoice. My wife actually like some of the catalogs we get, but I feel they're wasteful. So, we've compromised. We are only opting out of catalogs she says she doesn't want. There are multiple options for opting out of catalogs. You can:
- Contact catalog companies directly (Manual Option)
- Catalog Choice (Non-Profit and Free Option, but they ask for donations)
- PaperKarma (Paid Service)
I read several reviews, talked to folks that used the services and tried them out.
It's painful to lookup and manually opt-out, so I very quickly dismissed the do it your self option.
Catalog Choice vs PaperKarma. I reviewed both. I'll save the nitty gritty details, but if you have a few well-known catalog brands you would like to stop, Catalog Choice is a good option. However, if you are at Defcon 5 level of junk mail, you'll want the heaviest hitter that is the most convenient.
- Is a mobile app (easy to use)
- You take a picture of the logo and address of the junk mail and submit it
- PaperKarma contacts them and notifies you when you have been removed or not
The success rate with PaperKarma is reportedly much higher than Catalog Choice. I've been able to opt-out of several local services and generally I'm happy with the service. For $1.99 a month, I don't plan on keeping it forever, but I'll use it for 90 days and see how it goes.
So, I'm about 30 days in and three to four days a week I get no mail. It's been a pretty quick reduction. I look forward to getting mail and counting how much mail I want vs how much junk mail comes every day. I submit each piece of junk mail to PaperKarma because sometimes they surprise me by getting opt-out confirmations from places I didn't think they could. Of the last 10 pieces of mail submitted, 7 have been confirmed opted-out, two unsuccessful and one pending (Pottery Barn). Not bad.
While we won't be able to stop all the junkmail, we have significantly reduced it and as far as I can tell, this is the best way to do it. Hope this helps others reduce their unwanted junk mail.
Questions & Answers
What do you think about receiving informational literature from political candidates in the mail, even though that information is easy to find online?
I consider political mail junk mail. I don’t want it delivered to my house. It’s often difficult to stop these types of mailings, but I’ve continued to submit them to Paper Karma.
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