HTT: How To Junk Mail

Hadn't checked the mail box in a while.

That was a mistake.

What greeted me was a three inch stack of papers. Pretty sure it was heavier than my mortgage loan documents.

And of that three inch stack? Exactly two magazines and one bill. The rest was . . . well . . . junk . . . which reminded me of a joke about a guy passing out flyers on the streets of Vegas and saying to people:

"No . . . you throw this away."

Or something like that.

It's a joke that is much funnier in person


This isn't exactly a lecture on waste. We all know it's wasteful. We all like trees. None of us need a $600 dining room set. What bothers me is the time and energy it takes to sift through all that nonsense.

A little personality disorder: I'm the guy that cleans out his email accounts at least twice a day. (Of which I have 4) If I haven't opened an email from some group in a day or two, I'm the guy that immediately unsubscribes from receiving emails of any type, ever again.

Anytime I have to enter my email address, I will spend a few minutes looking for that little box that says "Don't send me any more crap, I've got a life."

And you're probably thinking that 4 email addresses are a bit much, which yeah, I can totally see that, but I've got a personal account, a business account, the account for my pen-name, and the Yahoo account that lets me participate in Fantasy Football.

So really not that much.

I didn't even bother to include my old AOL account which I use just to see the look on people's faces when they see I've still got one of those.

I think I have a MySpace account too, but I'm too terrified to go there.

The point being, of the accounts that I actively use, I keep them very clean.

I have a friend who showed me her iPhone with 666 unopened emails. I needed a heart valve replacement after she showed me that.

Anyway, with SPAM filters on high alert, and a slightly over-the-top dedication to unsubscribing from things, my emails are pretty tidy.

My mailbox . . . not so much.

So in my bi-weekly trips to the mail box and back I have to prepare. I have to clean the kitchen, wipe down the island, take out the trash, put on some comfortable shoes, warm up the shredder, and prepare for this week's "How To Tuesday" for something I've decided to call THE GREAT SIFT.

The mail box is four houses down and happens to sit right in front of that one neighbor who likes to leave her two big barking hound-dogs leashed to a tree that is six feet away.

They are very nice dogs, or so I've been told, but they bark at everything and everybody, and . . . personality disorder number 2: Barking dogs freak me out.

Always have . . . always will. Can't help it.

So either I have to wait, or I send my nine-year-old to get the mail. Barking dogs freak him out too, but he's grown accustom to these dogs in particular and their braying doesn't bother him anymore.

That's called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

I should get me some of that.

Anyway, I'm perfectly fine waiting for the dogs to go back inside, or for my nine-year-old Cognitive Behavioral Success Story to get home from school.

And once the stack of papers has been obtained . . . let THE GREAT SIFT begin!

You may be tempted to just throw the whole thing in the trash, cancel Comcast, and run out into the woods.

You may also be tempted to cheat and not sift through it all, grabbing out whatever you get and letting the rest burn. That could cause problems if your wife is waiting for Season 3 of Grim on Netflix.

No, unfortunately you don't know what could be hiding between the pages, so you gotta go through it all.

Okay, you're gonna be making six stacks.

Sounds like a lot, by try to keep up.

The 1st stack is the Pure Junk Stack. This will be your biggest and most unwieldy stack. Anything with a picture of leather couches, frozen vegetables, or anything with the words "Penny Saver" on the front. We have Craigslist now, get with the times people.

This stack, once finely combed can go straight into the garbage shoot.

The 2nd stack is the Probably Junk Stack, or the Mostly Junk stack. This is for the stuff that you might want to look through a bit. For me, this stack is just the Guitar Center ads. Sometimes they have good sales on the exact strings I use. For my wife, it's the Ulta ads, because she has a lot of curly hair to attend to, and that shit ain't cheap.

This week also includes the furniture ads. It's a one off because while my son was sick last week, my wife slept on the futon in the guest room and decided it was way to uncomfortable for humans, so we might be in the market for a new fold out couch.

If you have an extra few seconds, go through the Mostly Junk stack while you're standing there, and if nothing catches your eye, add it to the Pure Junk Stack.

The 3rd stack is the To Be Shredded stack. This include credit card, mortgage, insurance, and any bit of junk stuff that has your name and address on it. Fraud is a real thing people. Take precautions.

The 4th stack is the Magazine Stack. We get Entertainment Weekly and once in a while some kind of cooking, or eating healthy thing. The EWs will go from the sift stack, to the coffee table, to the bathrooms, and then finally to the trash a few hours before guests arrive. The cooking ones will get flipped through for recipes, added to the library if there's something good, added to the landfill if not.

The 5th stack are Bills. Make sure they are prominently displayed for your sugar-momma to attend to when she gets home from work.

I do live a sweet life, gotta say.

The 6th stack is for letters, birthday cards, pirated movies from my dad, postcards from all our friends who visit Disneyland a lot, and anything else that can be placed in a DVD player or pinned to the refrigerator.

Once you're done, and the stacks are neatly dispersed, it's time to celebrate with beer. If you do not have beer, then some carbonated lime scented water will do just fine.

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