WATCH: How to Stop Junk Mail for Good
Plagued by junk mail? You're not alone. According to New York University School of Law, the average American household receives 848 pieces of junk mail annually—the equivalent of 1.5 trees each year!
Going through all that can be an annoying, time-consuming, and wasteful process. To make matters worse, disposing of mail containing sensitive personal information, if not done correctly, can open you and your family up to identity theft.
Luckily, cleansing your physical mailbox of junk mail is nearly as easy as unsubscribing from email spam.
To stop the flow, you need to go to the source. As The New York Times explains, companies can get your name and address from lists of "prospective customers" their partners share with them. These "partners" be any company you've done business with, including stores where you've shopped, banks you've used, gyms you've had memberships to, etc.
That's where DMAChoice.org comes in. This is a tool offered by the Data & Marketing Association that lets you remove your name and address from a number of prospective customer lists. After making an account and paying a $2 fee (a small price to pay for freedom from junk mail), DMAchoice allows you to unsubscribe from entire categories of mail or unsubscribe from specific catalogs you don't want.
And then there are the prescreened offers of credit and insurance. You can opt out of receiving these by signing up for OptOutPrescreen.com, a service offered by the major credit bureaus and recommended by the Federal Trade Commission. You can choose to opt out of these offers for five years online, or you can mail in a form to opt out permanently.
Trust us, your mailbox (and the world's trees) will thank you.