Flickr member Jenicra84 has a neat and organized landing strip in her entryway!
I always get a little depressed when I open my mailbox, see a bunch of stuff inside and think "Mail!" only to realize that every single piece in there is either a) a credit card solicitation, b) a catalog from a store I've never heard of, or c) an announcement that I've been chosen to win an all-expenses-paid trip to Australia. (Goodness knows how many of those trips I've given up over the years.) It's depressing because all that mail means nothing to me personally, it clutters up my home, and it represents a tremendous amount of wasted resources...
Wouldn't it be great if the only mail you got was enough to fit into a small mail organizer, like this one? Via AT:Chicago
More than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce over 62 billion pieces of junk mail. (Gulp!) Apparently, the average person receives 18 pieces of junk mail for every one piece of personal correspondence — a figure that, judging by our own experience, seems about right.
As you're clearing out your entryway this week and creating space for your things, we encourage you to set aside an hour to get yourself off of the mailing lists that send you so much of the junk mail you get every day. Here are a few ways to kiss junk mail goodbye:
Problem: Credit Card Applications
How it Works: Most credit card companies get your address from the three big credit reporting agencies (Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax). OptOutPrescreen is the official consumer credit reporting website authorized to process online opt-out requests from consumers. You can choose to opt out of receiving any credit card and insurance offers from the consumer credit reporting companies for either 5 years or permanently. If you choose to opt out permanently, you'll have to print out a form and mail it in.
What You Can Expect: We just did this recently, and apparently we should be seeing a 50% drop in credit card solicitations. Can't wait to see the results!
Problem: Catalogs and Magazine Offers
Solution: Put your name on the Do Not Mail Registry; sign up for Tonic Mailstoppers (formerly GreenDimes) or Catalog Choice.
How It Works: We've found a number of organizations that will help you reduce the amount of unwanted catalogs and magazine offers you get every day. For each of the four categories offered by the Do Not Mail Registry — Credit Offers, Catalogs, Magazine Offers, and Other Mail Offers (including donation requests, bank offers, retail promotions and more) &mdash you can choose to opt out of receiving mail from certain companies or from all companies you haven't purchased or ordered from. Any choices you make will be effective for three years.
Catalog Choice allows you to go through a list of catalogs and select which ones you want to cancel. It's free, but it can take up to ten weeks for your choices to take effect. If you've canceled a catalog and are still receiving it, you can report the problem to them and they'll follow up themselves with the vendor to stop the solicitation.
If all of that seems like too much work, you can pay to have the service done for you with Tonic Mailstopper. For $20 a year, they promise complete control (not just a little reduction) over what junk mail you get by removing your name from nine of the most common lists used by thousands of marketers. If those lists require your signature to complete your opt-out, they'll send you a set of stamped, addressed postcards in the mail to sign and mail. What happens if you move, you ask? Well, Tonic Mailstopper will move with you and continue working on your behalf to keep your new address private.
A Few Tips For Organizing The Mail You Do Want:
Once you've taken care of all the junk mail coming into your home, it will be much easier to effectively manage the mail you do want, like bills, invitations, and personal letters. Go paperless for everything you can. (We find we can do this now with all of our bills.) Sort you mail as soon as you walk through the door and directly over the recycling bin and shredder. If you get a lot of important daily mail, set up an active filing system on your landing strip. Some common categories for your folders might be Bills To Pay, To Read, To File, Response Needed, or classify the mail based on a scale from Important/Urgent to Not Important/Not Urgent. (See pp. 109-110.)
Other Green Tasks For This Week:
• Remember to cook and eat at least two meals at home this week! Feel pressed for time? The Kitchn just had a Quick Weeknight Meals Contest, and there are some terrific recipes compiled that are short on time but big on taste!
• Don't forget your fresh flowers!
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