Take the "Junk" Out of Junk Mail
by Erin Huffstetler
Open up your mailbox on any given day and you are bound to find yourself overwhelmed by junk mail flyers, advertisements, credit card offers, catalogs, etc. The list keeps going and going. It's a hassle we could all live without, and yet it's one hassle we aren't likely to see the end of. As long as there's a company trying to peddle its wares, junk mail will continue to clutter up our mailboxes and our lives.
Does this mean you should throw up your hands and surrender? Oh course not! It just means you should do what any thrifty person would do. Turn the hassle of junk mail into something useful. Read on for some ideas to get you started.
Envelopes - Payment envelopes are inserted in almost every bill or account statement. While this used to be a necessary item, online payments and automatic bank drafts are quickly doing away with the need for payment envelopes.
However, don't be too quick to deem these envelopes useless. Save yourself some money and add these envelopes to your stash of store-bought envelopes. After all, an envelope is an envelope. Occasionally a company will place its return address or logo on the outside of the payment envelope, thus foiling your efforts, but with a little creativity, even these envelopes can be put to good use. How about using them to organize your grocery coupons or the seeds you gather from your garden at the end of the growing season? Nobody said envelopes used for these purposes had to be pretty. One cautionary note: be sure to black out any barcodes on the envelope. They could cause mail sorting equipment to ignore the address you've written on it.
CD Tins/DVD Cases - How many times have you received a CD in the mail encouraging you to sign-up for the latest version of an Internet service?
While the CD inside may be of little interest to you, the case it came in is often worth a second look, especially if you have a teenager in your life. With a little craftiness, you can turn that case into the perfect place for his or her latest burned CD.
For CD tins, simply rough up the existing paint with a piece of sandpaper, and apply a new color with a can of spray paint. Then, once it's dry, the tin can be decorated with stickers or other decorations. DVD cases are even easier to transform. Simply remove the paper liner from inside the case and replace it with one of your own design.
Flyers - All of the flyers and other non-glossy, one-sided advertisements that come in the mail can be put to a variety of uses. If you have kids in the house, the backsides make excellent coloring paper, or they can even be transformed into high-flying paper airplanes.
Another great use is to cut up advertisements into small pieces that can be used for scratch paper to jot down phone numbers and other important notes.
Or, if you always find yourself running out of computer paper, you may find this use is better suited to your needs. Save all 8.5 by 11-inch pages that come in the mail for use in the printer. Many printing tasks, such as printing a recipe off of the Internet, do not require a fresh sheet of paper. Reserve new paper for the tasks that require it and you'll cut down your spending on office supplies.
Glossy Advertisements - While it may not seem like it at first, glossy or two-sided advertisements can also be repurposed with great effect. Simply run them through the paper shredder, and you have instant packing material. After you try this solution, you'll forget all about those messy packing peanuts.
Miscellaneous - Sometimes even the most creative mind can't come up with a use for the crazy stuff that advertisers send. In those instances, it's best just to recycle it, and hope that it comes back as something better in its next life.
Erin Huffstetler is a freelance writer and mother of two who resides in East Tennessee. Check out her blog My Frugal Home.
Take the Next Step
- Check out reusables for every part of your life at Reuseit.com
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor. Just Click Here and tell us what's on your mind.
Also In This Week's Issue
- 5 ways your house can make you go broke
- How to regain storage space and cut the clutter
- 5 simple and affordable luxuries for your home
- 12 ways to lower heating bills
- Free fireplace logs
- 8 kitchen remodeling projects for under $500
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- 6 hazards your home insurance won't cover
- How to save on mortgage as rates rise
In The Dollar Stretcher Community
Get free money-saving articles in your inbox each week!
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter Surviving Tough Times.