3 Solutions: How to Stop Mail

If you are annoyed with junk mail and wondering how to stop your mail permanently, unfortunately, you can’t. However, if you are planning to travel for a short or extended period, there are a few workarounds. You can either hold your mail temporarily or forward it somewhere else.

A photo of some mail pieces

There are a variety of reasons why you can’t put a complete stop to your mail. The current U.S. postal system doesn’t provide an easy way to completely stop the mail. There certainly are ways to significantly reduce it. You can opt-out of most junk mail you receive but you cannot opt-out of mail that is broadly sent at a zip code level. Typically, advertisers address such letters as ‘To resident at’ or ‘To occupant at’, or ‘To Neighbors at’. Such solicitations do not honor any opt-out lists. Additionally, there are mandatory communications that can be delivered only by mail. You can opt-in for paperless statements for your bank documents or tax documents but certain communications require delivery to your home. Examples include mail for a bridge toll payment, DMV notices, or delivery of your credit card. 

Paper mail will continue to remain a part of our lives, even in a fully digitalized world. The question is how can we significantly minimize the usage of paper mail and save our trees. So, let’s look at some ways you can either temporarily pause your email or use forwarding services to stop the mail coming your way.

How do you stop your mail for a short period?

If you are planning to travel and would like to hold your mail for a short period, USPS offers a Hold Mail Service that holds your mail up to 30 days. It’s completely free to use. As per USPS’s website, you can make your hold request up to 30 days in advance or as early as the next scheduled delivery day. The service will hold all kinds of mail (including letters and packages) for all individuals at the specified address. USPS holds your mail at the local post office and once you’re back, you can either pick up your mail from the post office or request for a delivery. For more information on this option, you can find a detailed FAQ from USPS’s website here.

How do you hold your mail for an extended period?

You cannot hold your mail with USPS for more than 30 days. They will return the mail to your sender after 30 days. If you want to hold your mail for more than 30 days, USPS recommends using their mail forwarding service instead. You can request a permanent or a temporary change of address. You can request a change of address at USPS’s website for a $1.05 identity validation fee. If $1.05 feels unnecessary, you can request a change of address at your local post office for free. Although mail forwarding generally begins within 3 business days of the requested date, USPS recommends planning ahead of time. They suggest requesting it 2 weeks in advance from when you want them to begin forwarding your mail. USPS also offers a premium forwarding service that allows you to forward mail from multiple addresses to a single address.

Forwarding your mail to a virtual mailbox

Depending on your budget and need, you can also use digital mail forwarding services. These services typically receive the mail on your behalf and let you virtually access all your mail from your computer. They can be expensive and have a recurring cost. However, they come with a lot of benefits. You can forward, scan, schedule a pickup or discard mail items directly from your computer. A few popular services include US Global Mail, Earth Class Mail, Anytime Mail, and Traveling Mailbox. Some of these mail forwarding services also have a full-fledged recycling program. They give you an option to dispose of, shred and/or recycle your paper.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to opt-out of unnecessary mail and recycle all the mail you receive.

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