Yesterday, the mail carrier stopped me as I was getting out of my car.


“How come you’re the only one who isn’t getting catalogs?”


He wasn’t complaining. He wanted to know. He told me that he had been delivering tons of back-to-school catalogs, and he was curious why our family wasn’t getting them considering the fact that we have school age children.


I told him that I’ve worked diligently over the years to cancel all unwanted catalogs. I don’t like the waste they create. I also don’t like the fact that when I get catalogs, I want things in them. Things I didn’t know existed until the catalog arrived are suddenly things I have to have.


I told him about Catalog Choice, the website that makes it easy to cancel unwanted catalogs and other mail. He wasn’t aware of the website, but if you’ve been following this blog for a few years, you probably are. That’s because just about this time every year, I urge you to cancel your catalogs.


According to Catalog Choice’s calculator, by canceling my catalogs through its site, I’ve saved two whole trees, 585 pounds of greenhouse gas, 208 pounds of solid waste, and 1,408 gallons of water. Imagine how that would multiply if everyone who read this would gather the catalogs they didn't want and spend 20 minutes online canceling them.


Now is the time to do it before the holiday catalogs start arriving. I know it’s July. But tomorrow it will be August, and I know that sometime in the next two weeks an unwanted catalog from a company I’ve never heard of is going to show up in my mailbox with a snowman or a reindeer sweater on the front. It happens every year. I’ll hop on my computer as each catalog comes and cancel them. By mid-September, I’ll have stopped the onslaught.


So what are you waiting for? Get cancelling. Your postal carrier may just appreciate you for it.


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

Cancel your catalogs before the fall onslaught
If you think there are too many back to school catalogs filling your mailbox, just wait a month until the holiday catalogs start to arrive. Or, take action now