Put Your Mailbox On A Diet

Want to lighten the load of junk mail that lands in your mailbox every week? I think I've found a great solution at www.catalogchoice.org. Catalog Choice is a free service that allows you to decide what catalogs get delivered to you.

Sponsored by the Ecology Center, the service has been endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council. According to their web site, Catalog Choice's mission is to reduce the number of repeat and unsolicited catalog mailings, and to promote the adoption of sustainable industry best practices.

Here's how it works:

  • You go to www.catalogchoice.org and sign up for a free account.
  • You'll be directed to a list of paper catalogs commonly sent to consumers. Check off the ones you no longer wish to receive. If you don't see a particular catalog, click on the "Suggest a Catalog" link.
  • Catalog Choice notifies these merchants to take you off their mailing list. Many of these merchants are happy to do so because it reduces their costs.
  • Within a couple of months you'll see a reduction in the number of catalogs you receive.

I signed up in November with a big stack of holiday catalogs in front of me. Since then, the number of catalogs landing in my recycling bin has drastically gone down.

There are couple of reasons why I love this service. First, over three million tons of trees are consumed each year in the production of paper catalogs not to mention the additional resources that are then used to mail these wish books to our houses and businesses.

Secondly, if you're like me, you probably get way too many catalogs from the same companies throughout the year, especially during the holidays. There are very few of these catalogs that I even open. I do most of my shopping online so many of these companies are wasting their money sending me all these catalogs because I'm already a loyal customer! I just do my browsing on the computer instead of by flipping pages.

Finally, I've organized, recycled, and contained a crazy amount of catalogs for my clients over the years. Through this process, I've discovered that unread catalogs haunt many people because they fear they may be missing out on items that they "need." So, the catalogs accumulate and, for some, the debt rises as they do, indeed, find tempting treasures in those glossy pages. I suspect that they would spend less if they weren't barraged with images from their daily catalog deliveries.

I challenge you to go on a catalog diet. Join the 450,000 consumers and businesses that have cut down on their paper, time and financial clutter by signing up for Catalog Choice.