One of the easiest ways to stay organized is to limit the amount of things coming into your life. The less stuff you have in the form of belongings and information, the less you have to organize. In my fifteen years of being a professional organizer, I have helped countless individuals sift through their piles of papers and overflowing email inboxes to find what seems to be an overwhelming amount of junk. In addition, so many people I know receive multiple telemarketer calls each day. All of these unwanted communications become distractions and noise in our already busy lives. In this blog post, I’ve created a checklist for you to follow in order to opt yourself out of unwanted mail, e-mail and phone calls. In addition, I’ve included a few other things you need to know to keep unwanted info from coming into your life. Hopefully, after accomplishing the tasks below, the unwanted solicitations will stop so you can focus on what’s important and eliminate the unwanted pulls on your time.

Please note that each individual company or service listed below maintains their own websites and over time some of this information will change. I will do my best to keep this information up to date, however, if you find that a link is broken or the information is incorrect please comment below or reach out to me directly so I can research and fix it. Thanks!

Opt-Out Checklist

Stop Pre-approved Credit Card and Insurance Offers: Call 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) from your home telephone or visit https://www.optoutprescreen.com. To opt-out of these offers, you will need to provide your name, address, birth date, and Social Security number. The information you provide is confidential and is only used to process your request to opt-out. You can opt-out for five years or permanently, but you must follow the opt-out procedure for each adult member of your family.
 

Reduce Unwanted Telephone Solicitations: Visit http://www.dmaconsumers.org/offtelephonelist.html to register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), a do-not-call service created to assist consumers in decreasing the number of national commercial calls received at home. You can also get on the national “Do Not Call” list by calling 888-382-1222 or by visiting http://www.donotcall.gov/. Unfortunately, nonprofits are not required to use this list, however, it should reduce a good number of the telemarketer calls. In addition, I just read a great article about how you can block robocalls and spam calls on your cell phones. Visit https://www.pcmag.com/feature/362120/how-to-block-robocalls-and-spam-calls to check it out.
 

Opt-Out of Charity Solicitations: Unfortunately, nonprofits often share their donor lists, so if you’ve donated to one, you’ll likely get mail from others. There is no central opt-out for charity solicitations, however, there are a few things you can do. First, be selective in your giving. Go to https://www.charitywatch.org/charities/ to research the organization you want to donate to.   Secondly, whenever you donate to a charity ask them not to sell or rent your name and address. Be sure to look for opt-out boxes on donation forms and contact charities directly if you receive unwanted solicitations. Thirdly, you can write to individual charities to stop or reduce the frequency of solicitations. You can find the charity’s mailing address at Charity Watch. Be sure to save the mailing label and the “reply device” from these mailings. They are likely to contain codes that indicate the list your name came from.
 

Opt-Out of the Experian Consumer Services Mailing List: The credit reporting agency Experian compiles a Consumer Services mailing list that sends out coupons, flyers, and catalogs you didn’t ask to be on.  Call 402-458-5247 to opt-out of these mail and telemarketing offers.
 

Stop Receiving the Yellow Pages: These days most people use their smartphones or the internet to quickly find a phone number they are looking for. If you no longer feel the need to have a printed phone book you can opt-out by visiting https://www.yellowpagesoptout.com/.
 

Opt-Out of List Brokers Mailing Lists: There are companies whose main purpose is to pool information gathered from phone books, public records, and other sources to prepare and sell mailing lists to all kinds of businesses. Write to each company listed below requesting that your name be removed from all of their mailing and telemarketing lists.

R.L. Polk & Co. / Name Deletion File
List Compilation Development
26955 Northwestern Highway
Southfield, Michigan 48034-4716

Database America
Compilation Department
470 Chestnut Ridge Road
Woodcliff, New Jersey 07677

Acxiom U.S.
To opt-out of this company’s list call 877-774-2094 and press option 5 or complete the request at Acxiom’s Consumer Opt-Out page.

Opt-Out of the Direct Marketing Association List: The 5,200 member companies of this trade group use the telephone, mail, and the Internet to pitch their products directly to consumers. The DMA regularly updates its list, but the companies it notifies to remove you may not be as prompt. Thus six months may pass before solicitations from all DMA members cease. To stop receiving mailings from DMA members, go to https://dmachoice.thedma.org. DMA now requires a small $2 fee to perform this service. To remove the names of deceased loved ones from commercial marketing lists, visit www.ims-dm.com/cgi/ddnc.php and complete the form. There’s a $1 charge.
 

Stop Receiving Unwanted Catalogs: To stop receiving unwanted catalogs visit https://www.catalogchoice.org/ You will be able to create an account here so you can pick and choose which catalogs you opt-out of and check on the status of your requests.
 

Opt-Out of “Resident” and “Occupant” Mailings: If you often receive mailings offering goods and services addressed to “Resident” or “Occupant” call Advo, Inc. by calling 888- 241-6760 or completing the form at www.advo.com/consumersupport.html. You can also write to them here: ADVO, Inc. Customer Assistance P.O. Box 249 Windsor, Connecticut  06095.
 

Opt-Out of Val-Pack Coupons: If you no longer want to receive the blue envelope of Val-Pack coupons visit https://www.valpak.com/coupons/show/mailinglistsuppression.
 

Opt-Out of Publishers Clearinghouse Mailings: There are three ways you can opt-out of these mailings. You can call 800-645-9242, e-mail mailto:privacychoices@pchmail.com or write to Consumer & Privacy Affairs Publishers Clearinghouse 382 Channel Drive Port Washington, New York 11050. Be sure to include your full name and address in your correspondence.
 

Opt-Out of Readers Digest Sweepstakes: Call 800-310-6261 or write to Reader’s Digest P.O. Box 50005 Prescott, Arizona  86301-5005.

What you Need to Know

Don’t fill out warranty cards: Oftentimes when we buy a new appliance or electronic item a warranty card is included in the packaging. These warranty cards are primarily used by the manufacturer to profile you and sell that information to others who will send you mailings for various products and services. If you buy an item that has a warranty, just be sure to keep the receipt. A product remains under warranty whether you return the warranty card or not, so don’t unnecessarily put your private information out there if you don’t have to.

Don’t Just Delete, Unsubscribe: When you get a legitimate newsletter or mass mailing you no longer want, be sure to look for the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. It’s usually in small text and can be hard to find, but it’s worth doing so you no longer receive the mailing. To help you find the unsubscribe link you can press Ctrl + F to bring up the search feature in your browser or email client and type “Unsubscribe” to find it.

Keep an eye out for opt-out notices: Each year financial institutions are required by law to inform their customers of how their personal information is used and what opt-out rights those customers have. These notices may include a phone number, website or address the customer can use to stop their financial institution from sharing their personal information with third parties. Be sure to keep an eye out for these notices and opt-out whenever you can.

Writing “Return to Sender” doesn’t work: The U.S. Postal service’s job is to deliver mail, it’s not their job to re-route junk mail you don’t want back to the original source for them to opt you out. Postal regulations require that third-class bulk mail that says “Return to Sender” or “Refused” is discarded. In addition, placing unsolicited mail in a return envelope with postage due won’t work to stop future mailings.  Use the tactics recommended above to officially opt-out of unwanted mail.

Opt-Out Services and Apps

There numerous companies and apps that will opt you out of unwanted solicitations and some require a fee. I am not a huge fan of all of these since some are third party for-profit organizations that may be making money on your info, so please do your research before using them. Here are just a few to be aware of.

Private Citizen: A consumer organization fighting against the direct marketing industry’s privacy-abusive practices. www.private-citizen.com/

Paper Karma App: The stop junk mail app. https://www.paperkarma.com/

Unroll.me: Unsubscribe from e-mail instantly. https://unroll.me/

Robokiller: The app for iOS and Android that stops spam calls. https://www.robokiller.com/

If all of this information seems overwhelming it is. 😃If you are under a mountain of junk mail, trying to catch up on your overstuffed email inbox and getting inundated with telemarketer calls, just give me a call or text me at 267-970-0769 so I can help. I do this kind of thing all the time, and I’m here to help you get rid of the junk so you can focus on the important stuff in your life. Until next time!