Closed September 2017

No More Yellow Pages Clutter!

Yellowpages2 When I was just starting my organizing business ten years ago, a huge percentage of our clients came to us from a large (expensive) ad we had in the Yellow Pages. I did a lot of close tracking on that, and I watched that change, slowly but surely, from Yellow Pages to Google. The last time the Yellow Pages sales guy visited me, he couldn't argue with my numbers– it did not make sense for me to run an ad any longer!

Nobody I know uses the Yellow Pages. Maybe someone here in the comments will let me know if they do… but even my grandmother, who is in her 80s, uses the web to find what she needs.

If you don't like having 5+ pounds of paper clutter plopped on your doorstep, here's what you can do about it:

I tried this out, and you do have to register with them and give a real email address, because you must click from that email to log in and reach the opt-out page. I opted out of all of the directories available in my zip code. That felt GOOD! We'll see if next year they do indeed stay away from my porch.

Other phone book tips:

  • Find out how to recycle your phone books by putting in your zip code here at
  • Carry a Yellow Pages in the trunk of your car to use while you are out and about, if you don't have a smartphone to look things up online. (You can use Google by text message also, though, which is amazing! Read about that here.)
  • My family always used phone books as booster seats for little kids at the dinner table. I guess that is one thing they are still good for.  🙂

What do you think? Obsolete? Still worthy of shelf or counter space? Does it make you angry when they arrive? (Some people are extremely aggravated about phone book clutter.) Share in the comments! (And thanks to my friend Jim for pointing out the opt-out site on Twitter.)

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Obsolete. They have some coupons in them for some local businesses but I rarely think to check them when I need something. Even my hubby, who hates how much I’m on the computer, doesn’t use the books.


As a side note, you’ll want to write down important numbers, like THE POWER COMPANY or store them on your cell phone, in case, say, the POWER goes out and you can’t, you know, LOG IN to find the number to report the power outage 😉
When this happened to me, I had to call my friend in a different STATE to look up the number for me


I really can’t think of the last time I used the Yellow Pages, but I do use the White Pages a few times a year.


Although you can look up most everything online, there will be times when you don’t have power or internet access. What then? I recently had an emergency situation and I had no internet, so the yellow pages quite literally came to the rescue!


I still use yellow pages (though I don’t like the multiple phone books that are now delivered. I like ONE book that lists the numbers of ALL phones – ads being optional.)Smart phones and multiple computers are expensive substitutes. If I’m not in the same location as the computer or it is not on, telephone books work fine.


I used to think internet searching was faster until a couple of weeks ago, when I needed a number FAST. I grabbed the Yellow Pages and quickly found what I needed. I was surprised. But click-click-clicking can be very time consuming and frustrating. It’s good for many tasks, but after a certain number of clicks — it’s easier to use the phone book/Yellow Pages.
Wouldn’t have believed it, but it’s true.

Marilyn McSpadden

Interesting info on opting out. Regarding recycling old phone books – can’t they go into our regular curbside recycling bins?


Still useful. Not everything is on the net. I know my plumber isn’t. It also takes longer, unless you are very good at it. I also agree with the above person on the power outage. We were with out power for 24 hrs. Even the wfi for the ipod didn’t work. There were things I needed to do, but couldn’t because my information was stored on my computer and the ipod didn’t work. Bt the way the cordless phones did not work either.


I’m 44, but I still use the yellow pages. My brother is in his mid-30s; he uses his because he has a dial-up Internet connection–it’s faster to flip through the phone book. My mother, in her 60s, doesn’t even own (or want) a computer so she relies on her phone book.


I do use the yellow pages on occasion. Unfortunately the power isn’t always on due to storms, failing electrical equipment, etc. I was caught once without internet (the Comcast cable to my house accidently cut while removing a very large dead tree) and no longer able to print out anything (PGE repairing old underground lines). I was very glad to have paper copies of what I needed. I no longer rely simply on the normally easily accessible internet.

Her Majesty

Obsolete. The sight of them annoys me because I never use them but my husband, who is a hoarder, (no surprise there)and also never uses them, fights a yearly battle with me over throwing away LAST YEAR’s book (in case we need something we never use in the first place). Good hoarder “logic” at work there. I’m thinking of opting out to see if he misses it.

amy lowe

Absolutely obsolete. I hate them being dropped off on my doorstep, but what is really frustrating? We have a strip mall with 7 spaces, 5 of them empty with lease signs in the window. All doors had a blue bag with a phone book. Come on, we don’t need them sitting in front of empty locations. Can’t even remember when the last time I used on was.


I dislike phone books with an unusual passion! I don’t hate much, but phone books are one of those things for which I could make an exception. Last year when I got home from work, there were 3 setting out by my mailbox, in the rain, soaking wet. So they had to sit on my porch until dry enough to carry into the house to throw away. I came home from work everyday for a week and growled as I walked past them because they made it look like we just didn’t bring them in the house.

Marianne Rankin

In some areas, such as ours (a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C.), for the past year and continuing onward, we have been able to put our old phone books into the paper recycling; before then, they had to go to dropoff points.
I like phone books, because (for all the reasons above and more) they are faster and easier to use, don’t require power, etc. I can remember when the entire D.C. area, including Yellow Pages, was in one book, but it’s so much more populated now that a single book would be far too thick.
I’ve seen an article in a local paper saying that phone books may be phased out, and I’m not happy about it. Sometimes you have to use Information, which can not only cost money, it’s excessively automated. You can’t always get a number that way. And it usually starts by asking “What city?” We don’t always know the city of the number we are seeking.
Sometimes older methods work just fine. If they aren’t “broke,” they don’t need fixing. One can argue that by eliminating phone books, we are saving trees; true enough. But there has to be a way to get ALL numbers EASILY if phone books aren’t going to be available. The Yellow Pages are good for finding service companies.

Jackie Walker

I still occasionally use the yellow pages. There are times when my computer is not connecting to the web. Also I worked in an office last year where I did not have access to the web. I frequetly used the yellow pages on the job. I actually like the idea of keeping a phone book in my car’s trunk. I spend $2 every time I have to call 411 from my cell phonel. (I don’t have a smart enough phone.)


I still find it easier to look through the phone book to get phone numbers and addresses than it is to turn on the computer to do it…unless the computer happens to be on at the same time I am looking for something. It is a waste of electricity just to turn on the computer to look for something that takes less than a minute to do manually. >^..^<


I still find grabbing the book faster. Always have one in the car. I just searched ‘Plumbers in my city’ and got nothing really local, even though there are many within the city limits. If I opened enough sites I might have found them, but why bother? If you know the name you want, ok, but if you want to see who is close by you need the printed listings. I put the old ones in the recycle bin. Love your kitty Karen, mine are on all my email. >^..^<>^..^<

Lorie Marrero

Wow, we hit a nerve here! I am not surprised. KT, great point about having the power company’s numbers. If your cell phones work, though, you can still use Google via text message which is amazing.
Marilyn, some recyclers don’t like phone books evidently because of some crazy inserts and plastic on some of them…? That is what I think I read somewhere. Check with your local recycling service (they are completely different even from suburb to suburb in the same area)
Jackie & Marianne, seriously, you should try the Google text message option. It is much cheaper than 411 calls. (whatever you’d pay for a text message, either 10 cents usually or free unlimited, depending upon your plan)
Overall, I can see why some people are saying that for targeted local reasons there are still some good things about it. I would just like to have a way to do that without megapounds of paper being wasted and taking up space in my house, on my shelf.
Thanks for all of the great comments!
– Lorie

Ruth P

I say keep the printed phone books coming for the reasons that other commenters have given.
What never ceases to bother me is a *fact of life* that applies to me, I admit, as well as others. That is, that people think that if *they* have a computer then everyone else must own one too. Oh, and some people, even if they own a computer, it may be 6 years old. Somehow, we just automatically think that if we bought something and use it daily then, of course, everyone in the world will have boughten it as well. Well, they don’t.
My aunt who has never been a fan of technology so doesn’t have a cell phone or even an answering machine, listens to her radio host who after giving people some *teaser* information says that you can find out more by going on the Internet and then he rattles off a Web site address. Even a lot of radio ads, have dropped telephone numbers and replaced them with Web site addresses.
I mean, you meet someone at the bus stop, you strike up a conversation and since the person doesn’t take the bus every day, like you do, you ask her for her email address to let you know what day she’ll be there so that you can bring a book for her to borrow. “I don’t have a computer.” she says. Or, she says, I have a computer but I don’t have Internet access.
I love the idea of the yellow pages in the trunk. Especially, since I get more that one dropped off at my house. That way I can have one in the car and one at home.
Because I have a prepaid cell phone (no Internet access with it) as opposed to one that you have to have a contract for, I don’t have access to things like Google Text Message.
I discovered that was true about all of the text message services provided on the Internet that I tried. Even when I selected *Other* from a drop down menu of carriers, I *still* couldn’t get access. It’s kind of a moot point anyway, because I don’t keep my cell phone on. The messaging service was just a novelty for me (except I would have liked to received weather alerts). By the way, when I first tried, I was getting some text from one place and then strangely I stopped getting the text and I don’t know why. It would be nice if the Web sites offering these services would indicate somewhere on the page that Prepaid Cell Phones Don’t Apply!


I use my computer for research all the time and find the Yellow Pages a lot more useful when I want a local service or store than clicking through a ton of google entries. I use the internet when I know exactly who or what company I’m looking for, but when I’m not sure, I like to run through the Yellow Page ads – they give me pertinent information very quickly. I think if everyone could easily opt-out of getting the YP if they didn’t want them, that would end a good amount of waste. I appreciate getting mine, but I would be happy to receive it as an option and not automatically.

Sandra Hopkins

Would go for the web directories. Although sometimes I get to check yellow pages if I’ll find confusing and frustrating where to locate a very good web directory.


I’m 33, my hubby just turned 35, we have 5 kids, use the internet (alot) for research, networking, reading articles, viewing our local news, & finding businesses on yellowbook . com, online games, online calendar, etc.
However, in our home there is still very much a place for things like phone books, pen & paper letters, phone chats, family movie night, a complete set of encyclopedias, boardgames, xbox games, & face to face interaction with friends!
While I believe the internet is a valuable source, I don’t believe it or any other form of technology should be solely depended upon for *anything*. Where it concerns having so much freaking paper clutter in the house, I like the option to opt out of getting the dang things! Personally, mine will stay close at hand… with my cordED phone in my bedroom (for when the electricity goes out).


I still use the yellow pages (and white pages) occasionally but I know there are many people who don’t. Rather than delivering one to each and every address (I get multiple copies because I have 3 phone lines in my house), I think the phone books should be provided by request only. It would save so many trees and really cut down on clutter for people who don’t use them.

mary b

I like the tiny little local directory we get, since it is about 6×8 and maybe half inch thick, and has real local info.
What I despise is the non-phone company directories that some guy drives around & throws on the ground under every mailbox. They will sit there for months because either many people don’t want them or they are summer homes and no one is there to pick them up. To me it is akin to littering. They should be required to pay postage to deliver them.
I tried calling to get off their list and they won’t do anything because they are not tied to a delivery address!

dean ricci

I think your comments about no more yellow pages clutter is totally unfair, unprofessional , and inaccurate and also mean spirited .
i know many businesses that that swear by the books and still continue to increase their advertising in them .
if you do not want the books delived to your door then why don’t you just call the publisher to be taken off the delivery list
iam sure they would be glad to do it just for you


Hi Dean. My post was not meant to be mean spirited in any way. My family does not use the yellow pages, nor does anyone that I have spoken with about it. The goal of this blog is to help people eliminate items from their lives that they no longer need or use. That was the goal of this post as well. I have opted out from receiving future copies and I wanted to share the link to do that with my readers.


As someone with a Com Sci degree that worked 12yrs for HP and 6yrs with IBM, I certainly consider myself to be much more computer savvy then the average person. That said, I still absolutely prefer using the Yellow Pages over the internet whenever I’m looking for a local service such as a contractor, doctor, dentist, vet, etc.. There is something to be said for having the peace of mind in knowing that most businesses in your local book are right in your neighborhood. When you find a business online, you have no way of knowing whether they’re truly local, or somewhere across the country. For this reason alone, I would arguably say that Yellow Pages will always serve a good purpose. Besides, many of your most affluent consumers and decision makers that run businesses out there nowadays are over the age of 60 and very old school – prefering to use the books over the computer. I’ve been running a weekend DJ/Entertainment business for over 30 years now, and can honestly say as an advertiser that my best leads have consistently come from the Yellow Pages. And now that many of my competitors are cancelling their ads due to the economy, I’m actually getting twice as many calls from the books because I have less competition in a medium that consumers still turn to every day regardless of the economy! Now that’s a beautiful thing as a business owner. Admittedly, I use the internet every day for looking up information. But when I’m ready to buy something, I turn to the books. The only exception is when I’m buying high ticket items where the shipping cost is less then the local sales tax. In those instances, I’ll shop locally and then buy the product online for the best price.


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