Ever notice when you return from holiday, just how much junk mail is waiting for you? Like you can wallpaper all your rooms, and if you were looking for a fun crafting project, there’d still have enough paper left over to make a full-scale papier-mache blue whale.
It probably feels like you’re drowning in flyers and envelopes with their obnoxious crinkly cellophane windows and the fake credit cards stuck to application forms with glue that feels like the bitten off leg of a gummy bear.
All of it is intensely annoying and frustrating since most of us don’t have the time/patience to take control of the amount of junk mail we get.
Last year March (for Spring Break), a minute before Covid sprang into action, I travelled West to another state. I ended up staying (and working remotely from there) for one and a half years. While I was gone, my mom took care of my place. She watered my plants and kept my place spotless. (Thanks, Mom! xxx!) She also picked up my mail.
She went through everything, dumping the Red Plum flyers and keeping only envelopes. When I returned, she handed me three shopping bags stuffed with envelopes I still needed to sort. (Please note that all my actual bills are paperless.)
- I donate to my local NPR station and as a thank you they send me a bunch of donation requests. (So much paper – not cool!)
- As a gift from my sister went to the trouble of giving me a New Yorker magazine subscription; The New Yorker sent me a subscription “reminder” once every few weeks stuffed with postcards of New Yorker cartoons. (again, a lot of paper!)
- I’ve never called Progressive car insurance, or joined my University Alumni association yet the enormity of mail from both is unbelievable.
The list goes on.
So there I sat, for three evenings, over an hour each time hoping to come up for air at some point.
Step 1 – rip out the crinkly cellophane window while trying to keep calm. These cannot be recycled and will take years to break down in a landfill.
Step 2 – Shred everything with my name on it, then bag it.
– White plastic garbage bag will be re-used once shredded paper is put into recycling.
– Keep in mind, my mom had already combed through this mail and sorted “absolute junk” from this pile of “perhaps-junk”.
– Kitty is for perspective.
Finally, this is the distillation of a year and a half of mail – everything that was “somewhat important”.