Have you ever opened your mailbox and found it was full of junk mail? After sorting through the pile you may have found most of it to be credit card deals and insurance offers that just end up going in the trash. Wouldn’t it be nice to stop wasting your valuable time separating the mail you need to keep from the mail you end up throwing away?

The good news is that it really is possible to put an end to the monotonous cycle. I have found 3 ways to stop junk mail for good and I’ve even tried a few of them myself.

1. Credit Report Opt Out

Did you know that credit card companies, as well as some insurance companies, have the ability to pre-screen your credit report? This allows them to send you offers for new credit card accounts or insurance policies by mail and email. In other words, they use the information to determine whether or not you would possibly be a new customer for them.

For example, they may decide to send you mail or email offers if your credit score is above a certain minimum requirement. According to the Federal Trade Commission, it doesn’t hurt your credit score. But, of course, it can be irritating. So how can you put a stop to it?

One solution is to opt out so you stop receiving unsolicited offers. If you decide you would like to opt out there are two choices: Opt out for five years or opt out permanently. To opt out for five years, you can place a toll-free call to 1-888-5-OPT-OUT, or 1-888-567-8688 or visit the website: www.optoutprescreen.com.

If you want to choose the other option instead and make it permanent, go to the same website, but you will have to fill out the Permanent Opt-Out Election Form. Some of your personal information is required, but it is confidential and only used for the opt-out process.

Keep in mind this may not end all solicitations because there are some companies that do not pre-screen using your credit report. Furthermore, although it only takes about five days for opt out requests to be processed, it could take 60 days before the prescreened offers cease showing up in your mailbox or email inbox.

Another thing to consider is if you are looking for a new insurance company or need a credit card but don’t have one, you might not want to permanently stop those prescreened offers. Because some companies use only that process, opting out may prevent you from ever learning about their products or services.

What happens if you change your mind? All you need to do if you want to opt in again is just use the same contact information above to request that you start receiving those offers once again.

2. Individual Opt Out

As mentioned above, not all companies use your credit report to pre-screen you. Unfortunately, the correspondence you receive from local organizations and merchants likely won’t be affected from opting out in that manner. To prevent that type of mail from cluttering up your mailbox you may have to contact each individual sender and request that they remove you from their mailing list.

Another option is to take a closer look at all of the envelopes and correspondence you receive by mail. If you see a phrase on one such as, “return service requested,” or, “forwarding service requested,” you can reject that piece of mail. Just write, “refused,” on the unopened mail and put it in your outgoing mail. If the mail is an unsolicited offer of some kind, write “Return to sender,” on it and re-mail it.

3. Other Opt Out

Another way to reduce the junk mail you receive is to get registered with the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) Mail Preference Service (MPS). They can add you to their “delete” file which should also decrease the amount of solicitations you receive. In addition, they have an Email Preference Service (eMPS) to help you reduce the number of emails sent to your inbox. To take advantage of these opt out options, go to www.dmachoice.org.

Going through your mail doesn’t have to take forever. Instead, you can use some or all of these ways to put a stop to unwanted mail and take back your precious time.

Do you know of any other ways to stop unwanted mail?