7 ways to unsubscribe from physical mail

Stanford Rosenthal
Jul 18, 2017 · 3 min read

Sometimes external forces make living minimally a challenge. One such force is the postal service. Every day a government employee drops off a new batch of clutter — and ironically most of this clutter is about convincing us to buy more clutter.

While cancelling your mail might be infeasible—if not impossible—there are a few steps you can take to significantly decrease the amount of junk mail you receive. None of these steps are immediate, and most require a bit of patience.

1. Opt-out of catalogs

The Data & Marketing Association is a trade organization that shares your data and mailing address with its member corporations. You can create an account on their website and pay $2 to opt-out of their lists.

2. Opt-out of credit and insurance offers

You can reduce your credit and insurance offers from Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion at OptOutPreScreen.com. They offer a 5-year opt-out online. Absurdly, you must print and mail a form to opt-out permanently.

3. Join the “National Do Not Mail List”

While not as official as it sounds, the National Do Not Mail List will remove you from DirectMail.com’s client corporations. The signup form is simple enough, as long as you feel comfortable giving your email address to a company whose primary business is spam.

4. Say goodbye to the Yellow Pages

This one may come as a surprise: you can actually say no to the Yellow Pages. YellowPagesOptOut.com will help you find your local distributor and provide instructions to opt-out. Easy!

5. Remove yourself from RedPlum

Next time you get a book of coupons in the mail, take a look at the sender. It’s most likely RedPlum. The good news: they make it painless to remove yourself from their list online. The bad news: if your mail carrier is as careless as mine, you’ll still receive RedPlum—just with someone else’s name and address.

6. See if this non-profit can help

CatalogChoice is a Berkeley-based nonprofit with a goal of ending junk mail. While their database is incomplete, they may be able to help with some of the larger offenders. At very least, it’s a noble cause worth supporting 🤗

7. Text photos of your mail to Mel

Mel is a little tool I’ve built with a simple value prop — unsubscribe from physical mail. Simply snap a photo of a piece of junk mail, capturing your address and the company name, and Mel will use a combination of automation and virtual assistants to contact the company and have you removed from their list.

There’s no app to install and no account needed. For now, your first 5 unsubscribes are free. After that, each unsubscribe will likely cost $1, dependent on user feedback.


MinimalHero

A collection of stories & thoughts on minimalism and the life that comes with it. Signup for our newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/defa514369f1/minimalhero

Stanford Rosenthal

Written by

Designing Design Education at Kenzie Academy

MinimalHero

A collection of stories & thoughts on minimalism and the life that comes with it. Signup for our newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/defa514369f1/minimalhero