While recycling unsolicited mail, catalogs and flyers is great, stopping unwanted mail before it gets to you is even better.
- The best way to keep your name off mailing lists is to control your exposure. Limit how often you give out your contact information and to whom.
- Help older friends and family members get off mail lists using the tips below, especially if online forms seem intimidating for them.
- Send a postcard or call the number listed on the piece of mail. Tell them you want your name removed from their list. Include any customer identification number found on the shipping label.
- Log into online accounts and choose the paperless option for updates, if available.
- The U.S. Postal Service is required to deliver mail sent to all addresses. It will be harder to stop these.
Bank statements – Change your settings in your online accounts or call your financial institutions to get electronic statements.
Catalogs –Sign up for an online account with CatalogChoice and choose the catalogs you want to stop getting.
Charity solicitations – While no centralized opt-out system for charity mailings exists, you can include a note with your donation requesting that the charity not rent, sell or trade your name. You can also ask your charities to only send you a mailing once each year or not at all. It may take multiple requests.
Contests – Get off the two biggest contest promoters' lists:
Coupons - Several big companies are responsible for sending out most of the coupons we receive.
Credit card offers - Use OptOutPrescreen.com or call toll-free at 1-888-567-8688 to remove your name from the nation's major consumer credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion). You will need to give your Social Security number, name, address and phone number.
Direct mail - Register with the Direct Marketing Association , the national trade association for companies that send direct mail, to remove your name from catalogs, magazines and other unsolicited mail lists. Please note that there's a small fee to unsubscribe.
Past residents - The U.S. Postal Service says to write “not at this address" on the previous resident's envelopes and place them in a blue mailbox or another outgoing-mail receptacle.
Tools to help
PaperKarma – Download the phone app (iOS and Android) and unsubscribe from junk mailers by taking a picture of your mail. Fees apply.
Wabi – Use the online site to unsubscribe from five specific mailing lists for free including weekly coupon mailers. Fees apply for more than five.