Catalog Choice: To Receive or Not To Receive

The last catalog at our house
The last catalog at our house: the end of an era

Receiving catalogs in the mail used to cost us money.  Even though I wasn’t actually purchasing anything from the catalogs, just looking at the non-tattered, cord-free, cleaned-up pictures made me think about how our gently used, well loved furnishings were showing a little wear and tear.  When looking at catalogs, everything is so shiny and new.  When you’re around all that new-ness, you want some it.  If it’s not around, you don’t know what you’re missing.  I like to say that I have all the self control in the world, as long as it’s not in my house.  When a new catalog would arrive, I felt a need to purchase something new.

Then, I did something crazy.  I canceled all (*except one, see note at bottom) of our catalogs.

Canceling our catalogs was very liberating.  I no longer felt bad about all of the waste that was entering my house or the recycling  I had to attend to.  Catalogs piling up can create a bunch of clutter in a home in no time.  Wasn’t the internet supposed to change catalog shopping or eliminate it?  Can’t consumers just look on line IF they need to purchase something new?

Want to reduce or eliminate the number of catalogs that come to you?  Follow these easy steps.

How to eliminate/reduce catalogs arriving at your home

  1. Call the company at the 1-800 phone number listed on the catalog.  Customer service usually handles this area.  Ask to be removed from their mailing list.  Tell them not to share your information with other companies/publications.
  2. Open an account with Catalog Choice and choose which catalogs you do wish to receive.  This site was not around during my catalog purging days but I highly recommend it.
  3. Anytime you sign up for a magazine subscription, write on the form/invoice “Do not add me to any mailing lists or sell my name/info”.  This step is key. Magazine subscriptions usually equal more catalogs.
  4. Anytime you order anything, specify that you do not want to receive any catalogs or be added to any mailing lists.

Being proactive and vigilant are key if you don’t want to receive catalogs.

I did just cancel the last catalog we received at our house.  Honestly, I was a little sad about canceling it.  It seems that my daughter is done with American Girl and that phase of her life.  The customer service representative who I spoke to did hope I’d be back someday.  She didn’t say “when you have grandchildren…” but I know that’s what she was implying.  Let’s hope that day doesn’t come for awhile!

Do you receive catalogs at your house?  Do they entice you to spend money?  Is frugality easier when the temptation isn’t delivered to your mail box?

*my daughter continued to receive this one catalog in the mail – and then she grew up!

Go Gingham related links:

Ottoman slipcover hides shoes, socks and whatever else my kids stuff under there!
Parenting: Children’s Allowances
Social Networking and Parents Behaving Badly
Piano Lessons – they’re an indulgence at our house – time and money
Frugal family fun – more ideas that won’t break the bank
Homemade cards – simple and not very elaborate – great for kids!
Time tested family rules – who knew these would work?
Take the night off and Let Your Kids Cook Dinner
Our weekly ritual – Technology Free Sundays

Sara

Sara, creator of Go Gingham, is passionate about cooking and feeding her family healthy, real food. She's a green enthusiast, too, who loves to grow food organically. Sara loves to travel - especially by trading houses. An avid runner, she can also be found chasing after her chickens in the backyard.

2 Comments


  1. I cancelled all our catalogs several years ago. I was a sucker for Williams-Sonoma, Crate and Barrel, and the ones that sell all the flower bulbs (how come my garden never looks like that?). Once in a while my husband will end up on a mailing list for biking gear or men’s clothing because he is not as diligent about staying off mailing lists, but eventually they get cancelled also.

    I definitely think the temptation is reduced if you don’t have the “peddlers” coming directly to your mailbox. It doesn’t just clutter your house/recycling bin, but there must be some brain function that is triggered by the idea that something needs to be purchased. Every picture in a catalog is a mini-decision (do I need that? would that help me? can I afford that?). I just don’t need all those extra decisions in my day!


    1. Liana, good for you! I agree that catalogs use additional mental energy. I’m trying to conserve my mental energy!

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