10 Uses for Junk Mail

by Roxie Olmstead

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Everywhere I go I hear complaints about junk mail. Junk mail is like the weather in that everyone complains, but no one does anything about it. "The worst thing you can do to a chronic complainer is to deprive him of a grievance," says Evan Esar. It is my purpose to deprive you complainers of your complaint about junk mail. I, for one, would not want junk mail stopped.

Yes, I admit my addiction. And you know what? I don't even want to be cured of it and I can tell you why. I have found so many uses for junk mail that I would miss it if suddenly it was outlawed. Here are ten ways to make junk mail work for you and sometimes save you money:

  1. It speeds up your shopping time. You can look through the sale bills and brochures to get ideas and comparative prices for your shopping lists. Then, when you go shopping, you already have an idea of what you want, where to find it, and what you should pay for it. Clip coupons as you skim the sale bills.
  2. Use the return envelopes enclosed in junk mail to hold your coupons and make your shopping list right on the envelope.
  3. Use it to get gift ideas for those hard-to-buy-for individuals. The gift catalogs show new items and bring other items to mind as you search through them.
  4. Clip a corner off of a return envelope and use it for a bookmark.
  5. If you're into crafts, decoupage the colorful advertisements for things like plate collections for beautiful wall plaques.
  6. If you save junk mail, you'll never again have to worry about entertaining small children. I once had a neighbor who put all her junk mail in a drawer. When children visited her, they were allowed to rummage through the drawer and help themselves. It kept them quietly occupied during visits.
  7. Entertain yourself by reading the humorous bumper stickers, horse-sense plaques, and slogans on t-shirts and mugs. Who can resist a chuckle when they read things like, "Nurses know how to take the pressure"?
  8. It's good economics. What about all those free samples of household products, cards, stationery, pens, pencils, etc.? Since you didn't solicit them, you have no obligation to return them. They are free and yours to keep. You don't have to make a donation when you are sent self-addressed labels from charitable organizations.
  9. Use junk mail to enhance daydreams. You know your chances are slim of ever winning those sweepstake award contests received as junk mail, but reading about all the prizes adds depth to your daydreams for that particular day.
  10. If all else fails, you can actually order from the catalogs you receive, but check out any company you are unfamiliar with through the Better Business Bureau.

Now that you've read my list, the worse thing that could happen to you is that you become a "Junk Mail Junkie" like me. So, let's hear it for junk mail. Rah! Rah! Rah!

Take the Next Step:

  • Everybody receives junk mail. Instead of complaining about it, put it to good use. Start with one of the above 10 ideas or come up with your own. You just may become a "Junk Mail Junkie" as well.

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