Some Quick Ways To Declutter Your Inbox (And The Real Mailbox As Well)

Our lives seem to be so busy these days. One source that keeps us busy is dealing with both postal mail and email inboxes. It may not be getting so much from friends, but instead from businesses and spammers. Here are a few ways to help clean things up.

Postal Junk Mail

Image of a row of different coloured mailboxes courtesy of Brigitte Werner from PixabayWhile it is officially called “Bulk Business Mail”, it is still advertising that comes that you have to sort through and throw in the paper recycling. If less junk mail is your desire, Direct Marketing Association maintains a list of addresses who do not want to receive advertising. It is in their best interest to maintain this list, because each mail piece costs money and if they can save money by not sending to someone they know will just throw it out, they come out ahead.

To get on the DMA’s list, go to to opt out of these. The cost is $2 and is good for 10 years. Since companies plan their marketing months in advance, it may take 3-6 months before things slow down in the mailbox.

Credit Card Offers

If you don’t want to get credit card offers in the mail, then you can go to and provide your information to stop getting these. If you pull your own credit report regularly (you do, don’t you?) you may see this show up on your credit report as a flag that you opt out of credit offers.


Many of the mail we often get is solicitations for money by charitable organizations, political organizations and more. These groups sell their lists of people who have responded to other organizations and before long the pile of envelopes is large. Before we instituted some of these removal techniques, I knew of a gentleman who was getting about 25 solicitations per WEEK.

To help slow this down, find a phone number on the solicitation and call them and ask to be taken off their mailing list. You may have to look at the fine print or the footer of the letter to find a phone number. Then go a step further and ask them not to sell your address to any other organization as well.

Images Of Your Mail

Speaking of mail, you can get a daily email from the post office showing you images of what should be coming in your mailbox each day. Go to to sign up for a USPS account and sign up for informed delivery. It is free. The postal service realized it was capturing this information anyhow in order to sort mail, so they offered those images to the public as well.

You will need to verify your identity, which matches up with credit report information. If it cannot do a verification electronically, you can have the USPS send you a post-card with your confirmation code to your address. When the program first rolled out, it was very easy to sign-up, but they realized that robbers could sign up on someone else’s address and see everything that was coming then steal items out the day it came. The USPS has wised up considerably which is the reason for the verification process now.

Avoid Identity Theft

A good way to avoid identity theft is to freeze your credit reports. That keeps anyone from impersonating you with your private info and opening new credit cards or taking out a loan. There are three main companies to do this with. Go to each of them and repeat the process.

If you happen to be reading this several years later and the links above, don’t work, then just google the name of the reporting company and “freeze” and you’ll easily find the current page for adding a freeze.

Cleaning Up The Inbox

If it is the email inbox that is getting too much advertising and clutter, there are a couple of things you can do.  As you review the emails, first you need to determine if this is a mailing list you signed up for (or got signed up for by the fact you did business with a firm).  For those that are legitimate businesses that send out regular emails with discounts and sales, you can often click on a link at the bottom to change your preferences.  That will allow you to get them less often or to stop getting them altogether.

Sometimes these company emails are something you might want, but just not so often.

There are still quite a lot of spammers who are sending unsolicited emails.  For these, the important thing to know is that if you click on their unsubscribe button on their emails, it just reports to them that your email address is a “live” one and you’ll start getting even MORE spam.  The solution for those is to use the “mark as spam” button on your email reader so that these start to get moved more and more automatically to your spam folder so you won’t even see these in your inbox.

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