Around the House

Good Riddance Junk Mail

Reduce junk mail by registering with the Direct Marketing Association’s “Mail Preference Service” at It’s worth the few minutes it takes to elect three blanket preferences – one each for catalogs, magazines, and other mail offers.

Waste of Time & Resources

Worse than catalogs, mass marketed offers in the mail are simply a waste of time and resources. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 44% of junk mail is discarded without being opened or read, equaling four million tons of waste paper per year.

One statistic I found even states that on average, a consumer spends a total of 8 months opening junk mail during their lifetime. Eight months?!

Mail Preference Service

Consider the Direct Marketing Association’s “Mail Preference Service” at This service will remove you from DMA member prospect lists, in the hope of reducing the chances of your name being rented, sold, or exchanged by member companies.

Note that this is a bit of the fox watching the hen house, but it’s certainly worth the few minutes it takes to elect three blanket preferences – one each for catalogs, magazines, and “other mail” offers. (Not including credit offers; keep reading for that one.)

DMA Choice elections

The DMA represents nearly 3,600 organizations, including most of the leaders in the direct marketing community, so logging your preferences with them should cover a good percentage of total junk mail. All DMA member companies are required to honor your mail choices for three years from the date you submit them.

The DMA also has an Email Preference Service to help you reduce unsolicited commercial emails from DMA members. Your online request will be effective for five years.

More Ways To Slim Down the Mailbox

It’s easy, free, and has the added benefit of helping out the environment. Here are more free resources that I promise won’t take a lot of time and are worth the trouble.

Stay tuned for more in the Data Diet series.


  1. Arnie (or Arnold ) Mullen

    06/17/2013 at 10:24 am

    Your website says that I asked to stop receiving unsolicited offers in 2010. Why do I still get so much junk mail, especially from Chase? It seems likle I get something from them every week.

    1. Samantha

      06/20/2013 at 2:36 pm

      Hi Arnie – thanks for writing in. Did you mean to say “their” website? And which website would that be… OptOutPrescreen? Double check your elections. I would also look at the next junk mail you get from Chase and see if there is any fine print on it about opting out.

      Also if you opt-out, but subsequently do *anything* with an organization – open a new card, account, think about the company name on the third Tues of the month…. they will put you back in their database. Frustrating, but that’s the way it is I’m afraid.

      Sorry you’re still getting weekly junk mail… don’t give up though. We have significantly reduced ours.

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