11/22/2016

How To Stop Junk Mail

Good morning friends!

Wouldn’t it be nice if every email or envelope delivered to your mailbox was an actual letter? One you wanted to read? Personally, I’d appreciate it even more if every message was delivered to me by Pony Express, carrier pigeon, or owl. Mostly the owl though. Whatever happened to telegrams? I digress…

This week I finished up a task I began earlier this year: decluttering my inbox, both virtual and physical. Virtually, I was overwhelmed with the amount of emails I received every day, mostly a variety of advertisements. Sometimes the occasional blog subscription I had every intention to read would come through, but I was so stressed out from the sheer magnitude of emails, I never got around to it. It was a constant battle to “stay on top of things.” Translation: “Do I need to save this email or not?” All day I’d be tempted to check my email to see if there was anything that I could erase or “Mark As Read.” Spoken like a true Type A, I know.

And then I thought, do I really need all these advertisements from clothing and outdoors stores? Would I really miss the coupons? I had serious subconscious FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) for dem couponz. But I discovered that the coupons aren’t actually saving me anything. Either one of two things happen:

  1. I buy when I otherwise wouldn’t.
    Hey if I buy these jeans now I can save $20! Never mind that women’s jeans are upwards of $100 these days. Fact: Money spent is still money spent, no matter when you spend it. If you weren’t planning on buying jeans in the near future, just say no.
  2. I would find fine print that made literally anything I would buy in store not applicable for the coupon.
    I’m looking at you Ulta, your $3.50 coupons don’t fool me anymore. I would show up to the store, proceed to the checkout with a handful of items, only to find out that none of them would be discounted. And of course, I already hauled all these items up there… so I can’t just …put them all back…. can I?

So do yourself a favor and unsubscribe from all of them. Take no prisoners.

The best tool I’ve found for managing my emails

And once you’ve done that, sign up for Unroll.me (tutorial here). I’m not kidding, it has simplified my life so much. One email at 9AM every day (I believe you can set your time) containing a “bundle” of all your emails. You can also leave some emails unbundled, if you wish. Bonus: Unroll.me also provides an easy feature to unsubscribe from unwanted emails. It felt weird at first to only get ONE email a day, but it transformed it into an intentional decision to read what was in my bundle, instead of feeling like I’m being attacked by an angry mob of birds all pecking for my attention, threatening to gauge my eyes out if I don’t open their email first. I hope that visual was as overwhelming as I wanted it to be.

And now, we move on to the physical inbox: your mailbox.

How to stop junk mail from hijacking your mailbox

  1. Sign up for the National Do Not Mail List
  2. Sign up for DMAChoice.org
  3. Get rid of credit card solicitations by signing up for http://www.optoutprescreen.org
  4. Unsubscribe from store catalogs either by email, web portal, or phone. Having the customer ID from the catalog really helps. Most catalogs I’ve unsubscribed to have an “Unsubscribe” option on their website, but I’ve emailed them directly a few times as well.

Enjoy being clutter free! It is like a breath of fresh air, once you get past the “I don’t have any mail? 🙁 ” feeling. But isn’t a temporary feeling of disappointment better than being overwhelmed daily by the uncontrollable chaos of junk mail? I thought so too.

 

Resources:

http://www.ecocycle.org/junkmail

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