Will the junk mail ever stop?

It’s time to check in with my very first baby steps challenge: stop those catalogs and junk mail once and for all.

This photo represents all the junk mail we received during the past month, a year after I originally took on the challenge. It’s significantly less than we used to get, but I still want to get it down to almost none.

Last month I republished this post from last year about the challenge and the steps I would take to remedy the problem. Last year, when I first tackled the issue, I did most of the tasks on my list that are recommended to eliminate junk mail: signed up for Catalog Choice, put my name on Forest Ethic’s Do Not Mail list, and went to optoutprescreen.com to opt out of all credit card offers. The step I DID NOT take was to call companies individually and ask them to remove me from their mailing list.

The steps I took drastically cut the amount of junk mail we receive. In particular, we get almost no random junk mail or credit card offers anymore. But some of these catalog companies are persistent so what I’m going to do now is go back to Catalog Choice and make sure I have listed all the companies in this photo and then start making a call every time I get a catalog. Many of these catalogs are from companies I used to order from in my pre-Compact days, so I suppose they’re not giving up on me without a fight. But it’s going to be a long time, or maybe never, until I’ll be spending my precious free time looking through catalogs and buying full-price items again.

Have you reduced your junk mail? How did you do it? Please leave your best tips in the Comments section. Also let us know if you’ve taken up this challenge and whether or not you’ve been successful.


  1. Melanie Webster says

    We don't tend to get junk mail from companies sent directly to us in New Zealand (not often anyway) but most major stores drop off weekly catalogues. We just have a sign on our letterbox saying no junk mail and it works well.

  2. Angela says

    Melanie Webster- I'm so jealous- I've heard that's what they do in Canada as well. In the states, it's up to us to use up our precious time and energy to make them NOT come. People are so concerned about freedom, but whose freedom, I ask. Obviously, the freedom of corporations and businesses to call you and pester you with junk mail that you don't want. Free market.

  3. Cecilie says

    We have the same in Norway. You go to the post office, sign a form and get a sticker saying "No commercial mail". Then you only get what's addressed to you. It's fantastic!

  4. Eleanor says

    I used to order from catalogs, too, and it did take calling each of them and requesting to be removed in order for the junk mail to stop.

  5. Melanie Webster says

    Angela, that sounds awful, it must be very time consuming dealing with these people! Awesome effort though on reducing your junk mail they way you have :-)

  6. Kristen says

    I have also utilized Catalog Choice & opted out of credit card offers. To take it a step further I have emailed my credit card company and asked they they limit mailings (I already do everything online but they still sent those stupid "checks". Those have now stopped). If I get a catalog that isn't on Catalog Choice I just rip off the back cover and when I get a chance I email the company directly. My dh and I can now go days without receiving any mail! :)

  7. Cate says

    I'm in the same boat. We rarely get credit card offers or things of that ilk anymore, but we get lots of catalogs and junk mail for people who lived in our apartment before us (good thing we're moving at the end of the month!), and every Tuesday we get the standard useless coupons for the area. I'm still not sure how to get rid of them!

  8. Mary says

    On the other hand…

    as a member of a "postal" family, one who depends on the USPS for their income…I sign up for all the junk mail I can. I know that isn't the "green" thing to do and I am sorry if it offends anyone but it is keeping my brother and myself in jobs at the moment. He is 48 and has 30 years in with the P.O. I am transitioning between just having closed my own business (a children's consignment shop, how green is that?) and trying to get back into engineering full time in an area of 15% unemployment, and I am working as a temp for the P.O.

    So, I say keep the junk mail coming (sorry!) as it's providing me with at least a little income until I find fulltime work again and with the drop in first class mail over the past few years, it's business standard mail and parcels that are paying my brother's paycheck now.

    Just be sure to recycle those unwanted catalogs. At least that's green.

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