minimalize your junk mail

one step to not allowing junk mail to clutter your home is to throw it in the recycle bin immediately after you bring it through your door. however, the better solution is to not receive it at all.

removing your name from mailing lists is not as time-consuming as you might think. and it shouldn’t cost you a penny. you can reduce your junk mail 75-85% by following these three easy steps:

  1. register your name with the direct marketing association’s mail preference service and be added to their “do not mail” database.
  2. opt-out of pre-approved credit card, mortgage, and insurance offers by using the online form at
  3. for individual catalogs that you receive, call the company and ask them to remove you from their mailing list.

these changes may take up to 90 days to begin working, but you will certainly notice the difference when they do!

the preceding is an excerpt from simplify: 7 guiding principles to help anyone declutter their home and life.

what other steps would you recommend to minimalize junk mail?

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. says

    One more step: Find the unwanted catalog you’re receiving in their database, input the customer number and your address from the mailing label, and they will put in the request to have the catalog stopped. I have stopped dozens of catalogs successfully this way, and only receive from companies I actually use. It works!

  2. Chris B. says

    In Britain, I reduced my junk mail by phoning the order line of companies who had sent me unsolicited catalogues and asking (1) asking to be taken off their database – they were always happy to oblige – and (2) asking where they had got my details from in the first place. Most, but not all, order lines could tell me that too. Eventually, one gave me a single number to call for a central clearing service and that killed off most of my remaining junk mail in one go.

  3. says

    I just did the thing. Thank you! Those offers probably comprise 50% of my junk mail.

    I live in a building of condo units. One of them kindly keeps the recycle bin OUTSIDE the door, and most of my junk mail goes in there without ever coming in the house. Highly recommended. Sometimes I even flip through catalogs I might or might not like, so that if I don’t they can go in the bin.

  4. EB says

    My favorite thing to do, and it’s QUITE effective, is “return to sender”. Just write it on and throw it in the blue mailbox. The mail from them stops coming.

    • Kate says

      *just laughs*
      And here I thought I was the only one odd enough to do this.

      I usually call the Bestelltelefon (ordering telephone, I live in Switzerland) and ask them to quit. Occasionally I get the, “We do our mailings through a separate company and I can’t do anything here, wah-wah,” but a request to talk to the manager usually changes that.

  5. Mary Maude says

    My sister swears she has never had a carpet cleaning company call her back after she asks them, “can you come right away!” and “can you get blood out!”

  6. di says

    I keep any remaining old mail for scrap paper.

    I make lists of errands, groceries, the budget, etc.

    If I have several papers to take on an errand, I tuck them inside an old envelope. I also use old envelopes to organize my budget, leave notes or pay the paperboy.

    Everything gets used quite frequently and saves a lot of money in the long run.

  7. S says

    Thank you for this. I just spent 15 minutes going through my junk mail and opting out of things. I never knew how to get rid of it, but the junk that piles up waiting for paper recycling every two weeks gets so ridiculous. Here’s hoping this cuts down a bit. I’m going to keep the sites bookmarked so I can add things to my list as the junk mail comes in.

    The real unfortunate part is the ones that it doesn’t recognize – probably because they’re less common industry-related mailings, rather than the usual commerical ones.

  8. Brad says

    Anyone have suggestions for how to stop mail to your house thats addressed to a previous owner. Especially a previous owner where it also says – or current resident?

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