As part of my campaign to help people simplify their lives, I’ve provided some links below for an important and easy-to-complete step: Removing yourself from junk (e)mail and telemarketing lists that the post office sends us.
This helps cut way down the amount of time-consuming junk we have to sift through and phone calls we have to answer and patiently explain that “no,” in fact, we’re quite happy with our long-distance telephone service. As a side benefit, this also keeps us from getting sidetracked by things that we might be tempted to buy, despite the fact that until received a “free” catalog in the mail, we had no desire to purchase them. (Reducing your junk mail is also better for the environment.)
Step 1) To get off ~80% of direct mail marketing lists, go to https://www.dmachoice.org/ and register for an account. Then, go through the 4 categories of direct mail and request that all mail be STOPPED. (For credit offers, you’ll have to follow a link on DMA Choice to a separate site (OptOutPreScreen.com), and either electronically remove yourself for 5 years, or (my recommendation) print out and mail in the paper form to be removed PERMANENTLY.)
Step 2) From the same folks that brought you the above link, go to http://www.ims-dm.com/cgi/optoutemps.php to remove up to 3 emails at a time from commercial emailing lists. (You’ll still get spam email from other sources outside of the DMA’s control, but this should help reduce the total burden.)
Step 3) Go to https://www.donotcall.gov/register/reg.aspx to register up to 3 phone numbers at a time (including cell phones) with the federal governments National Do Not Call list.
Step 4 (optional) For getting off specific catalog mailings (such as ones from companies that you had bought from in the past), go to http://www.catalogchoice.org and they will submit an email on your behalf to remove you from whichever companies’ catalogs you select.
Step 5 (optional) To get off Red Plum specifically (I still got it even AFTER calling those bastards!), go here: https://www.redplum.com/tools/redplum-postal-addremove.html
Lastly, should one of these links no longer be valid, the FTC has a good recap of the above here: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email
Each of these registrations is free, and with the exception of the mail-in credit offer removal in step 1, can be done in about 5 minutes online (with a valid email account for activating some links they’ll send you to confirm removal.) If at any time you decide you actually WANT to receive junk mail/telemarketing calls etc, you can change your preferences with each organization.
Just follow the instructions for each removal link, and in the time period that it takes for your name to be removed from each list, you should be on your way to lessening your burden of everyday time-wasters and consumption encouragers. After completing steps 1-3, complete step 4: grab a beer and reward yourself with a little of the future time you’ve saved.