Junk Mail - How to Stop It!

by Charles Kenyon
Junk mail is unsolicited commercial mail in which we have no interest. My junk mail may be your prize. Generally, though, we each get far more junk than we do prizes. Papers are a major source of clutter. That includes good offers, catalogs, free recipes, and sweepstakes entries.

Each time you fill out one of those drawing entries at a commercial place, you are giving your name to at least one more mailing list. That list may be sold to many others. Thus:

Step 1: Stop entering free drawings

(Such drawings are also a major source of phone slamming.) If you must enter just this one drawing, try using a variation on your name once, like using a middle initial of "G" instead of the correct "C." Your experience with seeing that error show up in your mailbox time after time should convince you that it is not worth it!

The second place your junk mail comes from is your registration of warranties, software, etc. Those registrations almost always have a box to check asking that your name not be given out or used for promotional mailings. (See step 6 below if they don't.)

Step 2: Check the "no mailings" box when registering product ownership.

Finally, you are already on many, many, many, MANY lists. To get off start by mailing a request that your name be removed from lists for unsolicited mailings. To do this, you need to write to:

Mail Preference Service
D M Association
Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

Tell them that you do not want unsolicited mail and that you do not want your name or phone number sold. This will stop mailings for the name you send in. However, if you are receiving mailings with different spellings, with and without middle initial, etc., you need to send the letter for each name. Track new junk mail for differences in spelling, etc., and then send another letter with that variation. (You can also write to individual companies asking to be removed from their lists.)

Don't expect instant results. It takes up to six weeks before your letters will begin to alter your junk mail flow.

Step 3: Get removed from mailing lists by
writing to Mail Preference Service.

Guess what? These commercial enterprises aren't the only people selling your name and address. The Post Office sells names! You can get them to stop this by writing and requesting that your mail code be changed to "bill only."

Step 4: Get off the Post Office's distribution list.

Junk mail is a clutter problem, it robs us of time and space (at home and in landfills). An even more annoying problem is junk phone! A ringing phone call is a social urgency! Most of us feel compelled to answer; and most of us feel compelled to be nice to the person calling -- even when they call us away from dinner or out of the shower. Unsolicited telephone sales calls to consumers are steadily increasing as computer technology improves the ability to target people and track contacts. The Direct Marketing Association has a separate address to write to for junk phone:

Telephone Preference Service
D M Association
Box 9014
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014

Step 5: Get removed from phone lists by writing
Telephone Preference Service.

Again write for each name variation for maximum effect. As with the junk mail, it will take up to six weeks for this to begin to have an effect. You should also tell each such caller that you want to be removed from their list and that you do not want your name sold. If they don't think that they can do that, ask to talk to a supervisor and keep going up the chain of command as far as you need to go. This takes more time than simply hanging up, but makes it more likely that your next meal won't be interrupted from someone else from the same company trying to sell you something else (or even what you rejected before). You do not have to listen to their sales pitch to make this request.

Step 6: When sending in rebate slips, coupons, etc.
that you have to fill out,
write a privacy request in the margin.

I have put together a sheet of labels (for Avery 5160) in Microsoft Word 97 format that do just this. You are welcome to download and use them. They say: Privacy Request: Please don't use or transfer my name / address / or other information for marketing purposes. Thank you.

Good luck in your efforts.


While this was written by Charles Kenyon, it is based on material given in a seminar entitled "How to De-Junk Your Life." The seminar was excellent and is offered by National Seminars Group. You can go to their website for information on this and other seminars. For those of you printing this out, the website URL is: http://www.natsem.com/training.html

National Seminars Group
PO Box 419107
Kansas City, MO 64141-6107

Information on the De-Junk Seminar can be located by using their search under "time management" or by going directly to that page:



Junk e-mail (SPAM) is also a major problem. One member of the deCluttr maillist gave us her strategy for fighting SPAM.

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Copyright 1998, Charles K. Kenyon, all rights reserved.
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