one catalog at a time.
i've found a website that helps consumers refuse unwanted catalogs. i happen to get at least a dozen in the mail each month. some are good (land of nod, anthropologie, container store), some are bad (oriental trading company, l.l. bean). some are totally random (ballard designs? yankee candle?). anyway, i'm attempting to stop mailings of them all. the "bad" and the "random" for obvious reasons, and the "good" because they tempt me to spend my life savings on stuff i don't really need.
here's how it works. visit the website catalogchoice.org by clicking here. set up a simple profile. search their database for catalogs that you are currently receiving. decline them by entering your customer number & key code (both are found on the mailing label of the catalog). your work is done. catalogchoice will sent a request to the merchant asking to remove you from their mailing list. the process can take up to 60 days, but chances are good that your request will be honored by the merchant. i've already opted out of 15 catalogs. i keep a mini-stack of new ones as they come in, and when i've got about 3 or 4 in the pile, i visit the website and register them.
what's kind of funny is that (when i'm not on maternity leave) i write catalog copy for a national retailer. so really, by declining catalogs, i'm kind of kicking myself a bit. but i happen to think that catalogs, at least the way that they function now, are often pretty useless. not many people actually call up a customer service representative to place an order directly through a catalog. retailers use catalogs to showcase their products, driving people into the stores and onto their websites. but catalogs are heavy and expensive to produce. as the price of postage continues to rise, hopefully retailers will create some sort of a "new" catalog that combines effective marketing techniques with compact size, and less resources used overall. SO MANY catalogs get tossed without ever being looked at. some are recycled, some aren't. such a waste.
catalogchoice features a "bravo merchants" category on their website. these are retailers that have respected the wishes of consumers and halted mailings when asked. the distinction is nice... i'll support eco-friendly merchants over non-compliant merchants when i can.