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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tossing It Out Tuesday: Junk Mail

            If your household is like mine, I'm sure you get your fair share of junk mail.  My wife and I try to dispose of as much as we can as it comes in, but sometimes it just gets set aside if it looks like it might be something I might possibly want to check out.  I know what my regular bills look like and I recognize something personal from someone I know, so those are easy to separate and take care of immediately.  But there are those other curious pieces of mail that might be worthwhile and need further investigation.

             There is that mail that looks "official" or otherwise important that one discovers upon opening is really a sneaky attempt to extract money from their wallet.  I've gotten pretty good at spotting those, but some pieces still end up in the "to be checked later when I have time" pile.   And there are certain special offers that maybe I might be interested in but I don't have time to look right now.  They also go into the "look at later" pile. Eventually after a few days I have a small stack of mail over which decisions need to be made.  Out of this pile may evolve another "I really don't have time for this right now and I'll look again later" pile which accumulates on a kitchen counter until it is moved into my office.

             Much of this eventually turns into an "it's been so long that now I don't remember what it is, but I must have saved it for a reason and it could be important" pile that gets shifted into a box.  By the time I usually get to this mail, it is usually so outdated that if it did have any importance it is now irrelevant.  I need to learn to stop the flow before it ever gets this far.  Tossing out the unnecessary mail needs to be completed before it ever makes it to the kitchen shelf.
             In any case, I've been trying to cull through old mail in my tossing it out cleanings and break my habit of setting aside these things that I might think are important.   Actually the culling process started several years ago, not only by me, but also by the companies that send the mail.  Many of the companies now send offers electronically through e-mail, which certainly saves paper waste.  Also, I've stopped ordering as many things as I used to, entering contests, making inquiries, or using certain credit cards, which has apparently caused some of the companies to lose interest and stop sending as much junk to me.  Maybe they think I died or moved to another country or something.   Maybe a lot of those companies have gone out of business due to the bad economy.  Whatever the case may be, my junk mail has decreased tremendously over the past several years.  Each of the photos in my post represent about one average week of junk mail.  In the past, I have seen some days where there was this much mail.


             Still, there is some junk mail that remains and now my mission is to track it down and send it to the recycling bin.   Currently, as I am organizing papers in files, drawers, and boxes, I am discarding all irrelevant junk that had been previously set aside.  Since keeping the junk mail in check is something that has been ongoing for many years,  the problem is not extreme by any means.  Lest anyone has concerns there is serious hoarding going on here please be assured that the accumulation is minor.  But there is some junk that still needs to be tossed.  The clean up continues.


             How is your junk mail situation?  Have you taken any steps to control it?   Have you found any creative uses for junk mail?   What is your favorite junk mail?    What kind of junk mail do you dislike the most?
          

22 comments:

  1. I don't actually get ANY mail at the moment, since there is something wrong with my new address. I have lived here since May, and I haven't received a single letter, post card or anything at all.

    My registred address is still with my parents, actually, since I've had so many temporary addresses these last few years (some of them abroad), so if I get something important, it should be sent there. I hope...

    Anyway, junk mail as in email - those I get. Not a lot of them, though, but a few. Fortunately my junk mail filter is pretty efficient. And the good thing about e-junk-mail is that it is automatically deleted after a while, so you don't really have to worry about it piling up ;)

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  2. My dining room table used to look like a scene from the hoarders, for the very same reason. I've noticed a decrease too, but still most days our mail is about 98% junk. I now go directly from the mailbox to the trash can, sorting on the way. Kat

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  3. Junk mail lasts about three days in our house - and then it becomes confetti!

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  4. I use to get junk mail but after weeks of marking "Return to Sender" I think they got the message. For those that sent pre-addressed, postage paid, envelopes I politely put their mail in it and sent it back to them. I have reduced my mail delivery by more than half.

    My mother uses the shredded paper in her garden as compost.

    I don't like any sort of junk mail and to the shredder it goes.

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  5. Ha, must be something in the air (dust?) - I've started a big clean up at home too and have gathered all the unopened mail from the various corners of the house and tomorrow I have to go through it all.
    I'll file the keepers (tax, receipts etc), burn the paper junk in the fireplace and toss the rest.
    I like the shredder idea, I might have to get me one of those :-)

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  6. I hate all junk mail! Blegh! The only mail I don't shred immediately is my bills, library notifications, cards/letters, and Netflix. Love getting my Netflix.

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  7. I have various methods of dealing with junk mail,1: throw it away
    2: If it is advertising a product I very un christian-like fill it in with some-one else details( people who get up my nose)
    3: I hate mail for insurrance especially life insurrance ...I post it back to them unopened,

    We seem to get so much of it . reminds me of spam in the pc.

    Yvonne.

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  8. You know that there are some people who are happy to receive junk mail - the ones who don't get any other letters, who have no family, no friends ... It's quite sad when you think about it.

    Being a shopaholic, I love getting free catalogs and adds in my mail, but I hate when I get letters with fake prize games and similar. I also hate receiving bills :)

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  9. I am making stuff with recycled envelopes. I cut up a soft drink container, made a bracelet out of it, I used the inside of envelopes.
    Trying to see what I could do with
    the junk. There is a magazine that
    has recycled items, http://www.stampington.com/html/greencraft_volume2.html

    People are trying to make money selling recycled stuff. Reminds me of that saying..."One man's trash is another man's treasure".

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  10. I find if I put the mail on the table without going through it, my husband will throw it all in the trash. I can’t stand to throw something away without at least opening it, so I’ve gotten pretty good at going through it first and then 99.9% of it goes in the trash. But somehow I still end up with some of those stacks you talk about. I guess catalogs are my favorite types of junk mail and offers for credit cards my least favorite.

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  11. I hate junk mail. It immediately goes in the recycling bin or the shredding pile. Such a waste!

    I like Jules' idea of returning it - I think I'll try it! :)

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  12. CC-- For many years when I was mostly working on the road I kept my parents address. Next Tuesday my subject will be e-mail.

    Kat -- Sounds like my dining room table. When the pile gets too big I move it to a kitchen counter. I need to weed it out like you do.

    Alex -- I've been thinking about getting a shredder. It sounds so festive!

    Jules -- I also use the send it back to them technique if I really don't like the organization. For some, like the ACLU or other groups I strongly dislike, I might include a letter telling them about what I don't like about their organization. The send-it-back techique apparently does stop mail coming from those sources.

    Charmaine -- the fireplace method would be okay in the winter, but summertime is definitely shredder weather.

    Pal-- I like my Netflix too. I've reduced my plan to 1 DVD at a time because they are so fast in turn around time.

    Yvonne -- I don't want to get on your bad side. That is kind of funny though. Insurance offers go directly to the trash in my house as well.

    Dezmond -- You get those fake contest offers and such in Serbia as well? You even get bills in Serbia? How terrible!

    Ellie -- There you go! You are so creative. I just recycle into the bin, but you recycle into something interesting.

    Jane -- I'm always paranoid about the credit card offers and those advance checks they send. I tear those up (that's where I'd really like a shredder). I also like some of the catalogs, but sometimes I get so tempted.

    Jemi -- Yeah, the returning it plan is fun, but now that I've been doing it I don't get as much mail from those firms and don't have much of anything to return.

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  13. Wow, you sure have quite the system in dealing with your junk mail! Here's my procedure:

    Open mailbox
    carry junk mail to recycle bin
    deposit

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  14. it's the bane of my existence. I HATE junk mail. My system seems similar to yours, though I only go through twice a month (at the bill pay time) because somehow one session of sorting and paying seems easier than dealing with the pile every week, but MAN, would I love to have a secretary. Hubby won't do it because I have control issues on money (he is sort of a 'hey, there are still checks, there must still be money' guy) so I am stuck with all of it and KNOW I miss a lot of those 'chances' I should maybe look at just because I can't face thinking about it.

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  15. yes, yes, we get bills as well :) Life is expensive here too :)

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  16. I don't get that much junk mail, but it's probably because I haven't been on my own for that long. I am very good about going through my mail immediately. I'll even bring it in my car and go through it at red lights just so it won't sit on my dresser.

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  17. My favorite junk mail is pizza coupons of coarse!!
    The rest, I don't even open. It goes straight to the circular file!
    Love Di ♥

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  18. Okay, I am actually going to admit that I LOVE junk mail! We get it here on a Tuesday and I find myself looking forward to Tuesday. Sad, I know. I must find some sort of support group for that..... :)

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  19. Junk mail is 90% of what shows up in my mail box.......:-) Hugs

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  20. I always think of what my boss from ages ago used to say, "handle a piece of paper once."

    i still say it daily, and it helps.

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  21. Deborah Ann -- Sounds like you have a good plan.

    Hart -- I take care of most of the bills in our household and I attend to them as they come in. The other stuff I often set aside.

    Emilee -- Don't let it distract your driving!

    Diana -- MMMM! Pizza coupons. I always save them, but I rarely use them since my wife doesn't like pizza that much.

    Tabitha -- I guess if I only got junk mail one day a week I might look forward to it too.

    Bernie -- Not many people send letters anymore do they. My mail is mostly junk as well.

    Empress -- We used to say the same thing in when I worked construction and in a warehouse. It's a logical piece of advice.

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  22. I get less hard copy junk mail than a few years ago, but the trade off is a ton of e-mails, whether I subscribe or not.

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