Join Suzanna Kaye for an in-depth discussion in this video Stopping unwanted junk mail, part of Going Paperless: Start to Finish.
The easiest way to manage papers is to stop them before they even arrive. With all of the junk mail, catalogs, magazines and information we receive daily, it can easily become overwhelming to sort and manage. With the availability of electronic versions of many popular magazines, electronic statements from banks and utilities and online shopping catalogs, the amount of mail you truly need is much less than in previous years. Based on the type of paper, you can often request electronic delivery which is via email or online access, or stop delivery altogether.
I'll mention several web addresses in this movie. I've also included a list of all of these links as well as several phone numbers in the exercise files of this course. Download that list for clickable links directly to these sites. Now, let's look at how to eliminate some of the most common types of papers. Junk mail, generally refers to unsolicited mail from businesses. Simply writing "Return to Sender" on junk mail and returning it often will not get you removed from the mailing list. In fact, for many companies, it confirms the address is valid and monitored and may encourage them to keep sending mail.
One easy way to stop or reduce junk mail is to register your name and address on the National Do Not Mail list, offered for free by directmail.com. This service allows you to select which types of offers you would like to receive and which you would like to be taken off the list for. Some other similar services are offered through the Direct Marketing Association at dmachoice.org with the cost of one dollar, and Eco-Cycle at ecocycle.org for free. These services will not eliminate 100 percent of unwanted mail, but they will stop a lot of it.
You can register at multiple services to improve the results. Phone books can be stopped by visiting National Yellow Pages Consumer Choice and Opt-Out at yellowpagesoptout.com or through Eco-Cycle. Eco-cycle also allows you to search by company name and submit a request to stop mail specifically for that company. For pre-screened credit and insurance offers from lists provided through the major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion, you can opt out of either five years or permanently.
You can visit optoutprescreen.com Flyers and mailers addressed to "Current Resident" or "Occupant" will not be discontinued by using the services I just mentioned. The best way to request removal from those lists is to contact that company directly. Find the phone number, web address, email or address on the mailer, and submit your request directly to them. If you order from a catalog, many times your information is also given to a company named Epsilon, which is a group of primarily other catalog companies.
To request Epsilon remove you from their list, visit their website at epsilon.com. To be removed from some of the major sweepstakes mailings, you can call Publishers Clearing House, or Reader's Digest Sweepstakes. When you move, instead of filling out a permanent change of address form with the post office, complete a temporary change of address for a ten-month period, then notify the companies on your own of your new address. The post office provides information to third parties based on the permanent change of address, but not on the temporary change of address.
Any catalogs that still manage to be delivered after you've completed these steps, you can contact directly by calling the toll-free number in the catalog and requesting removal from their list. Another option to stop unwanted mail, is with the mobile app PaperKarma, available for free through the app store. This app allows you to take a photo with your phone or tablet, of the unwanted mail and submit it to them. They will request removal for you from the company. For magazines you no longer wish to receive, you can contact the phone number on the magazine and request they cancel your subscription.
Or also, if you know someone who would enjoy the magazine, you can have the subscription changed to their address. Check with them before directing mail to them. For bank statements and regular bills, most companies offer electronic delivery via email of bills and statements instead of paper. Most often there's a link on their website to opt in to e-statements or e-delivery. If you don't easily see the link, you can call the customer service number and their representative can talk you through how to register, as well as how to view your electronic deliveries.
E-magazines are also available on your computer or tablet. Many of the popular magazines such as Consumer Reports, Time and Cosmopolitan have online versions available, either directly through their website, or through a third-party service such as Next Issue, found at nextissue.com. Some even offer their online version for free. Find your favorite magazines online and subscribe to the electronic copy instead of the paper copy to reduce those incoming papers. Remember, all of the links and phone numbers I referred to, can be found in the course exercise files.
Now you know how to set up electronic delivery and e-magazines. Later, we'll talk about how to organize virtual information so you can find it easily.
Then explore password management and how to manage paperless lists, notes, calendars, and contacts. The course also covers electronic file and document storage, including how to scan paperwork into various e-friendly formats. Last, Suzanna shares some smart strategies for reducing incoming papers and keeping your email inbox organized.
- Backing up and maintaining information
- Purging and archiving
- Managing passwords
- Creating storage policies
- Stopping junk mail
- Using Dropbox for online storage
- Scanning paperwork
- Managing calendars, contacts, and to-do lists
- Organizing email in Gmail