Eight things anyone can do


Ready to lighten the load in your mailbox? Here are steps to reduce the flow of junk mail to your house, and keep unwanted mail out of the landfill.

Step 1: Stop the Flow

Go to the source of the flood of mailings and turn off the faucet! Remove your name from mailing lists at It can take up to 90 days for the flow to stop since many mailings are already in print or production.

Please note: There is now a small fee of $2 to unsubscribe through DMA Choice. It lasts for 10 years.

Step 2: No More Credit Card Solicitations

If you’ve ever filled out a product warranty card, purchased a new home or vehicle, supplied your credit information to a lending institution, or simply carried a credit card, you can be sure your name and address are being circulated among an array of credit card companies hungry for your business. Don’t despair — there is help. To eliminate credit card promotional mailings, call 888-567-8688 (that’s 888-5OPT-OUT) or visit You will have the opportunity to choose either a five-year removal or a permanent removal. For your personal credit cards, ask the company to place you on their “in house” list that is not sold or traded to other companies.

Step 3: Get rid of Unwanted Phone Books and Catalogs

Go online to opt out of Dex ( Once you’ve received a catalog in the mail that you don’t want, call the catalog provider to opt out. Oftentimes they’re happy to take you off the list because it helps them save money by not printing unwanted catalogs.

Step 4: Contribute to Charities, Not Mailings

If you contribute once a year to a charitable organization, ask them to send you only one donation request per year. The American Institute on Philanthropy offers several tips on reducing junk mail and phone solicitations from charities at

Step 5: Stop Junk Promo Products

If you’ve had it with companies sending you mailings or promo products you don’t want, there is an option. First, look for any of the following phrases: return service requested, forwarding service requested, address service requested, or change service requested. If you find any of these phrases, write “refused, return to sender” on the unopened envelope. Mail sent to “Resident,” “Current Resident,” or “Current Occupant” can be refused if it contains one of the above endorsements, or is sent First Class.  If you receive unsolicited promo products, you can mark the envelope “Return to Sender” and put it back in the mail.

Step 6: Get Off the List of ALL Direct Marketers

There are several smaller list brokers and direct marketing firms in the U.S. besides the DMA. You may recognize them on the list below. Just as you did with the DMA in step one, send or phone in all the variations of your name and address to the list brokers and direct marketing firms listed below. Start saving the labels of all the variations of the names and addresses, which come to your mailbox. Every variation, no matter how small (or comical), is another name on a list, which gets sold to literally thousands of businesses, so include all variations! If you prefer to go the snail mail route in removal, cut and paste actual mailing labels onto a sheet, make copies, add your signature beside each name variation on each sheet, and send them off to each of the 5 addresses below. Indicate the following: “Please remove my name and address from your mailing lists and do not rent, sell or trade my name or address.”

1 Valpak Ave. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
Go to Have the Valpak mailing label handy and fill in your information exactly as it is printed. If you like coupons but don’t want to receive all that mail, go to to choose and print coupons by geographical location.

Valassis Direct Mail, Inc. 
Consumer Assistance
PO Box 249
Windsor , CT 06095
1-800-437-0479, between 8:30 and 5:00 EST
Unsubscribe from their RedPlum publication here:

Epsilon Data Services
Abacus Cooperative Databases
Send an email Put “remove” in the subject line and your name and address in the body of the email. Be sure to include your name as it appears on the bulk mail you receive. If your middle initial is on there, use it. If your name is misspelled, include that. If you have moved in the past six months, state your previous address as well.

Step 7: Mail for past residents

I have lived in my house for 12 years and still get reams of junk mail in the names of three previous owners. Unfortunately, there is no high-tech solution for this hassle. Here are some low-tech ones:

  • The Postal Service says to write “not at this address” on the previous residents’ envelopes and place them in a blue mailbox or another outgoing-mail receptacle.
    • If there is a prepaid return postage envelope inside, take the address card (or outer label), strike one line through it, and write “No longer at this address”, then seal and mail.

Step 8: Opt out of paper statements, financial statements, bills, etc.

You can get most of your bills and statements online. Some companies ask if you’d like to opt out of statements, but others require you to go to their website to request paperless statements. Examples of bills/statements: phone, cable, internet, electricity, credit cards, monthly bank account, brokerage statements. The list is long which means there’s A LOT of paper!

– by Jennie O’Connor, for TEAC, 2018