How to Eliminate Junk Mail (& Email) Once and For All
Does it feel like junk mail is taking over your life? Between random credit card offers and ads piling up in your mailbox and a seemingly uncontrollable amount of subscriptions and spam flooding your inbox, things can get cluttered and super overwhelming—and fast.
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The good news is, there are some tricks and services you can use to manage both your mailbox and your inbox to keep your life as junk-mail-free as possible.
Stop Physical Junk Mail
To keep junk from showing up in your mailbox, there are a few services that you can enroll in that will help.
DMAchoice is a tool from the Data & Marketing Association that allows you to manage the kind of mail you receive. You sign up for an online account with the service, and then choose your mailing preferences for different categories. You can request to stop mail in three overall categories (catalogs, magazine offers, and other) or, you can go into the different categories and just stop mail from specific companies within them. If you have mail coming to multiple names (my last name changed and I started getting double the junk mail) you can add those alternate names to stop that mail, too. Same goes for having multiple addresses—you can manage them all from one account.
If you get tons of credit offers and want them to stop, you can request just that through OptOutPrescreen.com. The service works with all the major credit reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax and Innovis) and you can use it to opt out of credit offers for 5 years or permanently—or opt back in if you decide you’d like to receive them again.
When junk mail does arrive, don’t let it pile up on your coffee table or in a drawer. Instead, keep a shredder in an easily accessible place so you can get rid of it as soon as you walk in. If you don’t have a shredder, keep scissors on hand so you can cut up anything that might contain sensitive information (like credit card offers). Sorting your mail as soon as you get it will keep it from cluttering up your home.
Spam-Free Email Hacks
Okay, so you’ve covered your physical mailbox, but what about your digital one? If you get dozens or even hundreds of unnecessary emails a day, here’s how to reach inbox zero.
Unroll.Me is a free—and super handy—online service that allows you to unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Once you sign up for an account, Unroll.Me will show you all of your subscription emails, and you can stop the ones you don’t want to receive. You can also condense the ones you do want to keep getting into one, with the service’s “Rollup” feature. That way, you’ll get all the important subscriptions in one easy digest.
Filter by “Unsubscribe” in Gmail
Would you rather just deal with your emails within your inbox itself? If you use Gmail, you can use the search function to pull up all your subscriptions. Since subscription-type emails generally always contain an “unsubscribe” option at the bottom so you can manage your preferences, type in “unsubscribe” in the search bar, and they’ll all come up. Then, go into an email from each source and click the unsubscribe option to get yourself off their mailing lists. Delete them as you go, and soon you’ll stop receiving all those pesky emails.
Use the “Mark as Spam” Option
If you’ve tried and tried to unsubscribe but the emails keep coming, you can use the “Report Spam” or “Mark as Spam” features in Gmail and Yahoo (other email providers should have a similar option as well for you to flag junk mail). Reporting them as spam will get them out of your inbox and into your junk mail folder, so they’ll all be out of sight and out of mind. By marking unsolicited emails you flag as spam, your email provider will typically put subsequent emails from that address directly into your spam folder so you don’t have to take any further action.