When you first move to the U.S. you're desperately trying to get signed up for everything that makes your life more convenient. But what happens when this all falls into place and SUDDENLY YOU'RE SHOWERED IN NEVER ENDING JUNK MAIL AND YOUR PHONE NEVER STOPS RINGING!?
Junk Mail. So. Much. Junk Mail. Some make mention of “special deals” but my favorites are the ones that say “You've been personally selected HOMEOWNER NAME”. I feel so privileged and special!
So how do you stop it? How do you stop the never-ending stream of spam calls and junk mail? Well, the sad news is that you can't stop it completely. It's up to all of these companies to opt into these filters but a lot of the big companies do, so there is a way to at least stem the tide.
Step 1: Stopping Credit Card & Bank Junk Mail
Honestly, even the banks I'm already a member of send me three letters a day offering deals (that I subsequently can't sign up for because I'm already a member).
Head to OptoutPrescreen.com and you will be able to remove yourself from anything to do with credit reports (at least, the major ones).
You can choose to opt-out for five years or permanently (but opting out permanently requires a physical letter because it's apparently 1932).
This is a great start because it will also include all the insurance related content and anything really to do with your finances.
Step 2 to stopping junk mail: DMA Choice
The real junky junk mail can be stopped through DMAChoice.org. The website looks rather average but from my research, it's legit.
Sign up for a free account and you can opt yourself right out (along with some other options available to you).
This stops the proper spam stuff from hitting your mailbox and will give you peace of mind that you're saving a tree somewhere out there.
Step 3: Unsubscribe from Phone Books & catalogs
TheRealYellowPages.com (fakest name ever) has an opt-out and go green option which will get you off the major lists and stop the yellow pages arriving at your doorstep (and ultimately ending up in your trash).
By removing yourself from this junk mail list, you will have to find something else for kindling, but it's a small price to pay.
Step 4: Stop the spam phone calls
Once you've given out your phone number (anywhere), it's on a list. Along with all the spam mail to your apartment comes the never-ending phone calls from people telling you that your insurance is about to expire to threats from the IRS.
The Federal Trade Commission and the FCC are slowly but surely working on ways to stop that but in the meantime, it's worth registering your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry… it's better than nothing!
It's getting more and more teeth every day and is worth putting your number onto!
Step 5: Stopping Charity Mailers
You make ONE donation and you're on the list for life, and while this is true, most charities don't really want the expense of mailing everyone to get more donations.
If you reach out to them and let them know, in most cases, they'll stop emailing you (or more likely they will limit it to only one major campaign per year).
Step 6: Returning mail to the sender to stop it
I know this is going to start taking some time out of your day and you don't have that much time to spend, but anything that is sent to the “Homeowner” or “The Resident” can be refused. You can write “Return to Sender” on it and put it in the mailbox.
In some cases, this will slow things down from that sender because they automatically take you off their list. Be careful not to do this to anything real or useful though because it's normally a pretty automatic process.
Step 7: Go crazy and make a paper maché boat
It's the logical next step. Take all of the material that you've collected over the years and make something pretty with it. You'll never be able to stop EVERYTHING but hopefully your boat is small.
Happy mailing and happy sailing!