Navigating the mail

A tip about mail, gained from my former career in the USPS: One little-known fact about classes of mail is that, except for the one exception in bold caps below, ALL of what I term “consequence-related” mail will ALWAYS be sent first class. The other classes of mail usually include requests for donations, offers and coupons, newsletters, information about policies or accounts, etc.

If any entity REQUIRES payment from you, or is paying/reimbursing you, these will NEVER be sent by the following classes: Third Class, Bulk Rate, Standard (STD), or Non-Profit. Never. Which means if you have a huge pile of mail to get through as quickly as possible, you can know for certain you are safe not opening mail in these latter four classes.

(EXCEPTION: PLEASE NOTE THAT CREDIT CARD OFFERS SENT EVEN BY STANDARD MAIL CAN CONTAIN HACKABLE INFORMATION, AND SO SHOULD BE OPENED AND/OR SHREDDED. “WHEN IN DOUBT, SHRED.”)

Also, you’re probably aware that any correspondence that contains Social Security or driver’s license numbers, or active accounts or investments, should be shredded before discarding.

To decrease your snail mail volume, you can go to dmachoice.org, or write the Direct Marketing Association, 1120 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY, 10036. You can eliminate specific mailers or entire categories – but only, unfortunately, the ones who are on file with the DMA, unless and until they improve the system.