Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Free Holiday Cards, Gift Wrap, Calendars and More!

This time of year junk mail really revs up. I really hate it  when charities I give to send me free holiday cards, gift wrap, and/or free calendars. All of these items either end up in my recycling bin or are given to an older friend who does enjoy them. I hate that the money I donate is being spent on sending me items that I do not want.

Unwanted catalogs, credit card offers, and donation requests swamp us at this time of year and if you are not vigilant they can really clutter up homes and offices. Yesterday alone 6 catalogs, 3 donations requests, and a set of free holiday cards came into my home. Some of the catalogs and donation requests came from groups that I have never used. Many companies send this mail because they have bought our information from a data broker.

More than 100 billion pieces of junk mail are mailed to U.S. households each year, including 12 billion catalogs! That's a lot of trees! Over 100 million trees are cut down each year to produce our junk mail and 44% of junk mail is thrown away unopened and only half that much junk mail (22%) is recycled.

So, what to do? I always recycle but that is not enough. There are several sites to help you stop your junk mail. Catalog Choice helps stop catalogs. You have to set up an account and it is easy to use but takes a bit of time to find your catalog in their long lists.

Another option is to call the number on the back of the catalog and ask them to remove you from the list. By law, they must honor this. It would not take too long if you did each one when it comes through.

Charites are more difficult. It helps to donate to charities with a demonstrated commitment to donor privacy. Find charities that make a promise not to share, sell, or trade your personal information. Also look for charities that are financially efficient. If you support a charity that sends out too many mailings, call that charity and tell them how often you want to be contacted. Audubon now only sends me a donation form annually. I have another charity that automatically gets a monthly payment.

It is a good idea to pick a few favorites and give more heavily to them and refuse the others. I love to support wildlife and nature organizations. Consequently, I give to way too many. Now is a good time to really study each of those groups and decide which one or two I want to support.

It can seem overwhelming but even if we just take action to eliminate some of them the world would be a better place.


Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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