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Hack your mailbox and start to declutter

Brievenbussen met een Nee-Nee-sticker
Dutch mailbox with a No-No-sticker – © Martin Abegglen

The Dutch postal services have gone from six to five delivery days since 2014 and to be honest without any notice on my side. This as most commercial mail is delivered on Tuesday and Thursday for years now and the streams of non-interesting commercial mail has dropped the last years to acceptable levels. To a level even where I barely have any paper waste.

The first step was to put a “No-No” sticker on my mailbox which made me opt-out of house to house advertorials and saved my from going through an inch of mail a week to make sure I got all my mail before dumping it in the wastebin. Sometimes I still get some advertorials, but it is limited. And all the advertorials I want/need to read are online available and are there when I make my weekly shopping list.

The second step was to start bouncing and complaining about all commercial mail I didn’t asked for and to register with Stichting Postfilter to get remove from a lot of mailinglists for a couple of years before you need to extend your registration. If companies keep sending you mail and don’t respond to complaints, then at least in The Netherlands you can complain at Stichting Reclame Code, but until now I didn’t have to do that.

The third step was to see which companies would offer a digital alternative to the paper mail they normally sended. And most companies now offer a digital notification and/or invoicing system. When set up correctly it can correctly make your workflow easier.

This all reduced my mailflow to a level where it is basically only the mail which is required by law to be sended to you by paper mail. Hopefully this will also change over time, but for now I only check my mailbox three times a week instead of six because of the low amount of mail. Another 15 a 20 minutes per week saved that I could spend on other things.

By Hans Spaans

Unix & security consultant with a passion for Linux, Solaris, PostgreSQL, Perl and network services, but also a strong believer in open and free source, standards and content.