Once in a while, I stray out of the food/kitchen subjects to tell you about something I think is very useful. Catalog Choice is one of those things. It’s an online service that allows users to opt out of receiving unwanted catalogs. I’ve used it for about two years now, and I’ve had a lot of success in easily getting companies to stop sending me catalogs.

Catalog Choice has expanded the services it offers and now gives users the ability (or points them to) where they can opt out of phone books, credit card solicitations, and direct mail.

I spent some time looking over the new services offered by the website. I’m not overly impressed with the phone book help. The site points users to other sites that are supposed to help with opting out of those antiquated, unwanted monstrosities, and I’ve used them before.

Unfortunately, I have repeatedly done the things the sites tell me to do about the phone book, and I still get the phone books delivered regularly — often in the rain (see above photo). It’s infuriating. Apparently, the people who get paid to deliver the phone book don’t always pay attention to the don't-deliver list. It’s easier just to throw the books on every lawn.

The credit card and direct mail options seem more promising. From Catalog Choice, users can be directed to a site that allows them to opt out of credit card and insurance prescreen offers. For direct mail from companies (other than catalogs), users can search for specific companies or suggest companies they would like added to the list.

For the direct mail, users can opt out of some companies on the Catalog Choice site, but sometimes the site will direct users to a specific company site. I still get mail from Babies R Us. My youngest is 8, so I don’t need coupons from the company any more, but I’ve been getting them for years. From the direct mail option, I was pointed to the Babies R Us site where I can opt out of the direct mail.

I also still get mail from Tiffany & Co., even though we haven’t bought anything from there in years. I was able to opt out of mail from that company on the Catalog Choice site.

It can take a bit of time to fill out everything needed to opt out of all the junk mail that you don’t want. Even on Catalog Choice, it can take some time, but all the information you need is right there on the site, and that can save you hours of search time.

The site also tracks your requests, so you can easily see which junk mail you’ve opted out of and when you did it. This can be helpful if a company continues to send the things you’ve requested they stop sending.

If you want to stop receiving unwanted mail and help save tons of paper in the process, head over to Catalog Choice and see what services are available. They’ve got the catalog part down pat, and I have confidence that they will continue to improve their other services. 

MNN homepage photo: OnePopPhoto/iStockphoto

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Opting out of unwanted mail just got easier
Catalog Choice lets users opt out of more than just catalogs, phone books, credit card solicititations, and direct mail.