Junkmail is Evil. Save the Trees!

Tired Of All The Junkmail And The Negative Effect Of All That Waste? I Was Too!

I’m a guy who recycles like crazy and has recently tried to start digitizing my life as much as possible, so the masses of paper (read: once beautiful trees) I was seeing in my mailbox weekly was seriously beginning to drive me mad. Mad I say. Mad! This isn’t about your email inbox, this is about your actual mailbox. It’s kind of weird to have to specify which one we’re talking about here, but them’s the signs of the times I guess! When I finally figured out how to rid myself of all that junkmail, it was like a huge weight was lifted. Read on my friend!

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I Hit The Junkmail Demographic Lottery

So about 3-4 weeks ago, as I was shredding old documents and cleaning out closets, my annoyance with the many random magazines I had somehow become subscribed to had come to a head. It had become more and more apparent that I “fit the demographic” for way too many publications, and the mailing houses were on to me. Some of the “gifted” subscriptions I was receiving or had received over the past few years, and the likely reasons, include:

  1. Forbes and Fast Company — Because I’m a serial entrepreneur and can’t stop
  2. GQ and Maxim — Because I’m obviously wicked metro & have to keep up with the latest greatest pomades and man fragrances
  3. Men’s Health — Because I’m pushing 40 and my abs look pudding these days (no offense pudding)
  4. ESPN the Magazine — Because I used to play sportsball and I have a penis and an overactive imagination about my athletic “skills”
  5. Bon Appetite & Cooking Magazine — Because I love to cook (not sure how they figured that one out, actually)
  6. Playboy — See 1-4. And to be clear, I tried to read the articles but I kept getting distracted…

Seriously. Over the past 4-5 years I would get these on and off, but it hit a breaking point.

Who Signed Me up for All This Shit!?

Combined with all of the junkmail, coupon clippers, and credit card offers I was getting, it was becoming seriously disheartening to my socially conscious state of mind.

MMMmmmmmm. Me So Cranky! Enter Google…

So by this point you’re probably well aware of the interwebs and this dude named Mr. Google; Holmes is wicked smart! So I hit him up and started diggin’ for some knowledge. Turns out there were a few very specific sources for my misery, so I started calling. I’m not going to lie and say I was overly friendly when I finally got to the root of it, but I think I kept it fairly cool.

Here’s How To Make Your Junkmail Go Away…At Least About 90% Of It

Magazine Junkmail And The Like

So there are supposedly like 3-4 marketing clearinghouses that have lists for about 2-3000 magazines each. These folks are kind of the keymasters to the mailing lists and the demographic-based subscriptions you might be getting. So I found Subco.com and gave them a call (800.258.3350). Per their site, in oh-so-fluffy and well-crafted copy, they state that their “goal is to connect readers with content, both print and digital, that supports your interests and activities.” Right.

(Insert comment about monkeys and butts here.)

When you call, make sure you have a list of all those annoying magazines you want to get out from under. I had a list of two that day that I was certain of, then I had to call again a few days later when I got a few more in the mail that I had forgotten about. I think by the time I was done I was up to 7 unwanted subscriptions foiled. Turns out all of the magazines were actually through Subco, so I didn’t search anymore.

And don’t forget to ask them to take you off of any future mailing lists or you’ll end up with a whole new slew of magazines in the next few years, I’m sure!

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Getting Rid Of Other Junkmail

So while I was on a roll I thought I would keep digging to find out how I could unclutter some other stuff. Turns out there’s actually a nonprofit out there that is helping consumers in our exact predicament. DMAChoice.org, in their own words, “is an online tool developed by the Direct Marketing Association to help you manage your mail.

This site is part of a larger program designed to respond to consumers’ concerns over the amount of mail they receive, and it is the evolution of the DMA’s Mail Preference Service created in 1971.” Now that’s something I can get behind.

So by hitting them up you can actually select and modify your preference as to what kind of direct marketing you receive via your mailbox. I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t spend much time deciding between them and just decided to opt-out of them all!

Feel free to be a little more discerning, but realize with the interwebs and apps built around the idea of finding discounts, you can probably live with opting out of them all. (Note that I think they started charging a buck or two for this service, but still well worth it!

READ NEXT: Virtual Mailbox 101: What is a Virtual Mailbox & How I Get Mail While Traveling Full-Time

And Then It Happened; Crickets

So I’m writing this on a Friday evening (while drinking an amazing Russian Imperial Stout at a bottle shop called Salud in Charlotte, NC, USA), but this story really started this past Monday.

I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty pessimistic about whether these few actions might actually helping my situation. But Monday I went to the mailbox and it was pretty light, but I didn’t really take notice much. Then Tuesday thru Thursday were a bit more of the same, only 1-2 pieces of mail, and I started to notice. And then today I went to my mailbox and there was only one envelope.

I can’t remember the last time I only got one piece of mail!

So it seems to be working, and I’m feeling a lot better. Just imagine if you did this and shared it with your friends. SOOOOOOO many trees saved! Sooooo much awesome.

Cheers!
— Jason

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2 Comments

  1. There’s a sign in my apartment building directing the tenants to recycle their junk mail. I added a note directing them to red plum removal and DMAchoice. Now we wait…and I become the most popular person in my 6 unit building!

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