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I’m a big fan of Harry Potter and there’s a scene in “The Sorcerer’s Stone” that’s really fun to visualize. Copies of Harry’s invitation to Hogwarts are flooding every open crevice of the house trying to find “the boy who lived.”.

It’s a great fiction scene, but if you just closed on your house, you may be getting enough mail that you feel overwhelmed. Unfortunately, not one of those endless pieces of mail is your Hogwarts acceptance letter, either. There’s a good chance it’s mostly junk you don’t want.

Since buying a house is a matter of public record, you are likely to receive offers from national, state and local services.

 

Here’s just a sampling of the type of mail you might be receiving as a new homeowner:

  • Cable TV offers
  • Lawn/snow removal services
  • Home security systems
  • Homeowners insurance offers

You had enough questions about the home buying process. Now there’s just one more. How do you get rid of all this mail?

Before we get to the true junk though, what do you do about the seller’s mail that you’re still getting?

Return to Sender

Hopefully your sellers have managed to fill out a change of address with the U.S. Postal Service. Sometimes it takes a while for processing and other times sellers just forget to do it.

Whichever the case, if you’re still getting their mail, it’s best to take some advice from Elvis and return to sender.

Simply write “return to sender” on the envelope and hopefully that will be the cue for the sender to update their address books.

If the mailings continue, you can fill out a change of address card for them. Just make a note that they didn’t leave a forwarding address and that the card is being filled out by the current occupant.

If for some reason these methods don’t work, you may have other options. Just be aware that this becomes a much bigger pain in the neck at that point.

Finding the Treasure in the Trash

Just because you’re getting advertisements doesn’t mean you’re going to necessarily want to toss it all. Some might actually be useful to you.

Due to physical limitations, I’m not going to be able to help with my own lawn maintenance and snow removal. It’s probably a good idea for me to look at those offers I’m getting.

On the other hand, when it comes to cable or Internet, I feel the need for speed and the only thing I really concern myself with is how much I can get at the most cost-effective price. I can generally determine that on my own without having to look at any particular offer that a company sends to me.

Maybe it’s different for you, but determine the types of things you want to keep so you can get rid of the rest.

Pitch the Junk

Now that you’ve taken out all the stuff you want, the remainder of that pile is just a heap of literature you don’t want.

Service Offers

If you’re getting lots of offers for different services from cable TV to home security, you might be able to opt out of mail offers by changing your preferences on the Direct Marketing Association website.

The advantage of this is one-stop shopping. If a particular business is one of the DMA’s 3,600 member companies, you may still have the option of opting out through the website of the individual company. Sometimes they make these areas hard to find, but very rarely can they escape a Google search.

Credit Cards

Those credit card pre-qualifications are great when we want them, but seriously how many cards do we really need? After a while, the offer letters make their way directly from the mailbox to the garbage can.

Fortunately, you can opt out of credit card offers, too. The website allows you to opt out of credit card offers for up to five years and you can also permanently get rid of them by filling out a form and mailing it in.

Catalogs

If you’re looking to opt out of catalogs, there’s a great service called Catalog Choice that might be able to help you out. Otherwise, you can try to give the company a call and speak with someone directly. They generally don’t want to waste money sending you things you don’t want and for which you have no use.

We know that mail isn’t the only kind of junk advertising to which we’re exposed. You can also take steps to avoid those annoying emails and phone calls.

Now that you know how to get rid of junk mail, it’s time to take out the trash. Do you know of any tips we’re missing? Share them with other readers in the comments.

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This Post Has 14 Comments

    1. Hi Kenneth and Ellen:

      I’m going to get that taken care of for you right now. As a reminder, you’ll need to contact each company individually if they’re a third-party.

  1. Hi! I followed the link to the DMA website per this post, but after creating an account, they want to charge a $2 “processing fee”. I felt that would be helpful to share. Is there no way to stop the junk mail? I don’t feel like putting my credit card information in is a good idea.

    1. Hi Matt:

      I started to run through the process and you’re right that the two dollar fee is an important point to make. However, I wouldn’t have reservations about putting my credit card information in. According to Google Chrome, they’re using the secure HTTPS protocol. While no site is immune from attacks, they seem to be taking on the right best practices into account. If the site were breached, you could have your information taken. But the chances of that are no greater than they would be if you use the card on any other site that was properly secured or at a physical retail location.

      The only other option I can see is to contact each of the companies directly opting out of the mail. It would be time-consuming, but it could be done.

    2. Having retired from the United States Postal Service I know how frustrating receiving “junk” mail is because we had to work with it everyday. Check the mail piece and see if it has “Change Service Requested” printed on the envelope. If it does the mailer wants to know what happens with that piece of mail. Write “REFUSED” on the mail piece and return to the Postal Service so they can contact the mailer with that information. I retired in 2006 so things might have changed since that time. It’s always worth the effort to try and it might stop some from being delivered to your mail box.

    1. I’m happy to take care of that, Betty. If you are receiving junk mail from third parties such as lawn care services and insurance providers, please be aware that they’re getting this information from public records data associated with your mortgage and filed with local authorities. You will have to contact these businesses individually. Thanks!

  2. Please stop all this junk mail! I cannot even find the emails that are important to me with all this junk! Ive also signed up with the national do not call list and it hasn’t stopped them from invading my phone and my life!

    1. Hi Leah:

      I’ve gone ahead and opted you out of all further communications based on the information found in your lead in our system. I’m happy to take care of that for you. Just so you know for the future, if you contact a company about performing a service or giving you a product, you’ve given them permission to call you until you tell them to stop. I’m also going to get this to our client relations team, but thanks for reaching out today.

    1. Hi Donald:

      I will be sure to take care of your situation and opt you out of any Quicken Loans-related mail you may be receiving, however, you may be receiving mail from other sources as well and you may need to contact the individual/ company directly in order to opt out of all mail. You can also opt out by using this form. I hope this helps!

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