New Year’s Day is cathartic at my house because all the holiday decorations come down (including the Christmas gorilla). Then it’s time to focus on 2013 resolutions. High on my list is the goal of ridding my home mailbox of junk. Forever.
Tall order, I know. However, as you might expect, there’s an app for that: PaperKarma. It’s free (at least for now), super easy to use, available for both iOS and Android, and it's the first of several apps meant to help with your New Year resolutions that I’ll report on in the coming posts.
Here’s how PaperKarma, from Readabl, Inc., works. After installing the app, you can sign in using Facebook or your email address (though the latter requires you to enter your phone number for reasons unknown). Next, you take a photo of the offending junk mail, whether it’s a credit-card offer, a catalog, or even the yellow pages that land on your doorstop and promptly make their way to the recycling bin.
Then you preview the picture in the app and click "Unsubscribe me!" The first time you do this, you need to make sure the app has your correct address. It can use GPS to guesstimate where you live or you can type it in.
Afterwards, you can click a button to request the status of your unsubscribe requests. My first two requests were confirmed as sent to the junk-mail senders within 20 minutes. The status info lets you know if the app made a mistake—sending the request to the wrong company, for instance—and you can easily correct it.
Another service I’ve used in the past to get rid of junk mail, Catalog Choice, has largely been effective, so my hopes are high for PaperKarma. (The app gets mostly positive reviews in the iTunes and Google Play Store, though a few reviewers say it hasn’t eliminated their unwanted mail.) Catalog Choice had an iOS app called MailStop. Though it’s still usable on my iPhone, the app is no longer offered in iTunes. The company also offers a $35/year service, MailStop Shield, which proactively contacts companies "involved in trading personal information for marketing purposes" and opts you out so junk mail never gets to your home in the first place.
Do you have an app to help keep your New Year’s resolutions? If so, please share the details in the comments below. Also, if getting more exercise is on the 2013 to-do list, read my recent post, “Step Up Your Exercise With FitBit Device and Apps.”