By Kelli B. Grant
By some estimates, the average adult already receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year — and soon, you might be getting a whole lot more.
To help offset its projected losses for this year, the U.S. Postal Service is running ads and relaxing rules to encourage business to send more mailed pitches, reports today’s Wall Street Journal. (As we’ve previously reported, they’re also considering eliminating Saturday delivery.)
In anticipation, it’s time to put your mailbox on a diet.
Getting your name off marketers’ lists is relatively painless and usually free, although some companies charge a small annual fee to do the removing and monitoring for you. (See four free resources below.) You might need to fill out a short form online, or spend a few minutes on hold waiting for a catalog customer service rep. It can also take a few weeks or even months for the request to take effect, since many mailers are pre-printed well in advance.
But scale back with care. Eliminating say, credit card solicitations means you may not have access to the best deals when it’s time to get a new card. And keep in mind that reducing your junk mail can be a Sisyphean task — you may end up right back on the list when the Post Office or another company you do business with sells your information to marketers yet again.
Follow instructions on the site to get your name off mailing lists for catalogs and retailer mail sent through the marketing group.
Enter the name of a company sending you unwanted mail and sign up for a free account, and the nonprofit offers an online form request to remove you from the mailing list.
Sign up for a free account to control credit card offers, catalogs, magazine offers and other direct mail. You can change preferences as desired over time.
Opt out from receiving credit card and insurance offers for five years, or choose to remove your name permanently from marketers’ lists. (Consumers who choose the latter also have the option to later opt back in.)