We all have our favorite catalog of choice that we love flipping through, but what’s with the million others that are constantly sent to us in the mail? It’s super-tedious to have to sift through all the junk, and it totally makes us feel guilty when we inevitably end up throwing all that paper right in the trash — yet companies continue to bombard us with catalog after catalog of crap.
How it works: When you get unwanted catalogs or even junk mail or mail solicitations, go to Catalog Choice’s website and submit that sender’s information for an opt-out. From there, Catalog Choice takes care of the rest, letting that company know that you no longer want to receive mailings from them. They can even stop phonebook deliveries. Can we get a, “hell yeah”?
Cost: Free! Catalog Choice is a nonprofit organization that is run by grants and donations.
Get started: Visit catalogchoice.org to register. We suggest saving up a batch of catalogs and junk mail and entering them online all at one time.
Tips: It can take up to 90 days for the mailings to stop, so be patient. Also, be sure to register your business and use Catalog Choice to reduce even more mail clutter.
How it works: We were pretty bummed when we heard that PaperKarma went out of business a while back, but are pretty stoked that they are all set to relaunch soon. The new app will be super user-friendly: All you have to do is snap a pic of the catalog you don’t want and press send to be unsubscribed.
Cost: The app is currently free.
Get started: You can currently make a reservation for the app. Visit the PaperKarma website for more information.
Go online to the source
Many times you are getting catalogs because you are registered on an online retail site. Make a quick stop online and head to the bottom of the page — there is typically an FAQ section or somewhere under customer service where you can fill out a simple form to opt-out of receiving catalogs and other mailings. In addition, it may give you the chance to opt-out of emails in the same form — bonus!
Pick up the phone
Apparently, your iPhone can be used to actually call people — who knew? If you’re feeling old fashioned, grab your rotary phone smartphone and that stack of catalogs, sit down and start calling those customer service numbers on the back cover. They’ll probably need your customer number, which will be located near your name and address, but in most cases, they’ll be happy to help. Again, if you want to opt-out of emails from the same retailer, this is the perfect chance to ask them to take you off that list as well.
Originally published May 2012. Updated May 2017.