getting rid of junk mail: follow up

After my last post, I spent a couple months using the PaperKarma app, and saw depressingly little reduction in junk mail.  It’s a neat idea, and it definitely had some effect, but a lot of catalogs just ignored it, as did all the circulars.  US Airways took me off their mailing list — and sent me a nice snail mail letter to confirm.  :)  I think a number of charities have taken me off their mailing list, but so many charities solicit me (and sell my address to yet new charities, or to the old ones who had me off their list for a while) that it’s hard to tell.  The app is too much effort to use given this.  Okay, you basically just have to take a photo of each piece of mail using your smartphone, but I get a lot of mail.  You also have to check that it recognized the mail correctly.

After giving PaperKarma a few months, I tried getting rid of circulars directly: Valpak, Pennysaver, and Redplum.  Sure enough — after about 6 weeks — I stopped getting their bulky ads.  This was excellent news!

I just used YellowPagesOptOut to opt out of 6 local phonebooks (theoretically — not confirmed yet).  I also opted out of credit cards for 5 years at OptOutPrescreen (as recommended by the FTC) — they also offer a permanent opt-out for people who want to print and mail a form, but I’m hoping that by the time 5 years are up, I’ll be able to do it online.  ;)  I tried DMAchoice (for catalogs, magazines, and other mail offers), but found it too onerous – they give you (sometimes inaccurate) contact info for each company.

Next, I’m going to try 41pounds, which costs $35 for 5 years.  Although I wanted to first evaluate the free options on behalf of everyone who would rather spend time than money, I have run out of patience with bad websites, and also with killing trees.  $7/year is definitely worth it to me if effective — and their self-reported impact is large.  I’m going to have to list all the catalogs and charities who solicit me — fortunately, PaperKarma keeps a record of my requests which will help me remember.  I’ll report back.

I’m still curious to hear the results of anyone else who has tried any of the measures I suggested — or anyone who knows of other good resources!


  1. getting rid of junk mail: tips & call for volunteers — Effectivism Said,

    December 6, 2012 @ 7:41 pm

    […] follow up post for […]

  2. morganya Said,

    December 7, 2012 @ 4:14 am

    I’ve implemented the suggestions that provides upon each new move. It works for a few years, though stuff starts trickling in again after that (like ValPak, which started showing up right at the three-year mark in our current place). But in general, I’ve had pretty good luck sending cease-and-desist postcards to everyone sending us junk mail. It costs a bunch in stamps, but I don’t mind that.

  3. Sarah Said,

    December 7, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    I have used the OptOutPrescreen twice now, and it has worked great. I also used DMAchoice, which worked well, but was very time consuming. It took me about 5 hours to go through all the magazines. I’ve gone from ~10 magazines a day to ~3 a week. Haven’t gotten motivated to do those last few.

  4. lauren Said,

    December 11, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

    Sarah and Morganya — Thanks for the info! Glad to hear that those techniques worked for you. sends out a bunch of pre-addressed postcards for me to send — it basically just saves a bit of time and effort.