Every day we skip to the mailbox and then slowly trudge back with our bills, flyers and catalogs again. Too boring to go through, we set it down “for now”. If there was a way to completely stop it, we just might if only they’d take all our old mail too!
This Saturday, your Clutter Challenge is to take a stack of mail you haven’t opened yet and pick out anything that’s asking you to buy something you haven’t thought of buying.
- Donation requests: you threw them a twenty a couple years ago. How much more have they spent since then asking you for more? If you have a budget for giving and you need the reminder, that’s one thing but most likely you know what you want to give and when. You can’t save the whole world even if they send you a thousand address labels you don’t really care for.
- Flyers and ads for dentists, gutter cleaners and pizza. It’s not like this is the only chance you’re going to have to see these, they send them every single week.
- Subscription offers for magazines you don’t have time to read, no matter how deep the discount.
- Ultra-local collections of ads disguised as community magazines.
It’s tempting to hold onto all these generous offers because one day you might need a coupon for air duct cleaning. But the coupon expires soon and since you hadn’t thought of air ducts until you saw the coupon, anything you spend now is more than you planned to spend, so none of it’s saving you money.
This Saturday, pick one piece of mail that’s asking for money and see if you can find any of its friends. All the donation requests from St. Jude’s, or all the envelopes from the ASPCA (American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Whichever charity fills up your mailbox and makes you feel guilty and irritated. You’re keeping the reminders because you think you want to or ought to give them something. It’s time to either do that or not. Take the action and let the reminders go. If you’re saving them so you don’t have to feel guilty about throwing them out, ask yourself why leaving them unopened in a pile of mail from last year is helping the cause. You’re saying no anyway, why not have some counter space too?
If you want to put an end to the flood of donation requests you get by mail, stuff the prepaid return envelope included in their packet with all the letters they’ve sent you, and write “Please Take Me Off Your List” so whoever open the envelope sees it right away. It sounds a little strong, doesn’t it? But it’s effective and you’re doing them a favor – they’re wasting money mailing people who aren’t going to donate. Money that could be better spent helping the kids at St. Jude’s and the animals who need rescuing.