September 29, 2016

How to Clean Out Your Mailbox

Get Rid of Junk MailNeed help coming up with some New Year’s resolutions? Here’s a suggestion. Start with liberating your mailbox from all those annoying fliers and advertisements.  Your mail contains no letters from friends, no money from long-lost relatives (dream on). Who sends postcards anymore? Instead, there’s nothing in the box but those multiple-page ads for things you don’t care about.  Most of those mailers probably go straight to the recycling bin, but wouldn’t it be great if they didn’t show up at all? Well, we have some good news. With a bit of effort you can stop receiving them.Take a moment and examine the mailers. You’ll notice that they all have individual addresses. The mailer in your mailbox is addressed to your exact home, which means you can get off their list.

We examined three mailers. The first we looked at was Red Plum. It’s the weekly mailer that comes folded over and contains all the grocery and pizza ads. If you look closely on the edge of the front page edge you will see a toll free number–1-800-437-0479–to call if you’re interested in advertising. The trick is that if you call that number, there is an option to remove your address from their list. You can also visit the Red Plum or Valassis websites. They don’t make it easy, but it is possible. It will take five to six weeks to stop receiving the mailers and you will need to do it again every five years.

The second mailer we looked at was the Money Mailer. It comes in the red, white and blue 5×7 envelope and has individual ads inside. This one was a little harder. They list their website on the envelope–www.moneymailer.com/contact–to contact for address removal. When you get to the website, the removal instructions are at the bottom. You are first instructed to read a page about the myths of the environmental impact of advertising mailers. In answer to the argument that all that paper is destroying trees and forests, their response is, “Direct mail is not trees, it is printed communication.”

After reading through their information, you’ll find that you can remove your address by mailing it to their offices in Garden Grove, California, either by faxing your address to 1-714-889-1590, or calling a long distance number, 1-714-889-4609. You’ll get a recording and the opportunity to leave a recording of the address you would like to remove. The recording also lets you know that you’ll receive three more mailers before they stop.

The third mailing list we contacted was for Val Pak. They are the coupons and ads that come in a business-size envelope. We found their information on their website, www.valpak.com/coupons/home. Their phone number is listed and there is not an option for removal. But if you pick option 2 to contact the local office, someone will answer, take your information, and forward it to their corporate office. Their stop time is two months.

One problem with stopping the mailers is that you may still get them. On the day they come out, mail deliverers have huge stacks in their truck. Many are delivered without notice of the address because it is probably assumed that each house gets one. You may need to contact your local post office to let them know you removed your address from their lists. So, if one of your 2014 resolutions is to clean up and start fresh, then your mailbox is a good place to start. There will be less junk mail to deal with, and just maybe you’ll save a tree—or communication—or two.