How To Declutter Old Trophies, Medals & Awards
Today's mission is to declutter old trophies, medals and awards from your home.
This mission encompasses awards you've received as a child, such as for sports and/or academics, or as an adult, as part of your job or for your hobbies.
Examples of these types of awards include trophies, of course, but also ribbons, medals, plaques, and more.
As always, when we do these missions, the goal is not to get rid of every single award you've ever received. After all, you may be very proud of some of these and want to keep them as a keepsake to help you remember.
But, there are many times when we have a bunch of awards that while one or two still hold a great deal of meaning for us, the rest aren't as meaningful.
The goal of this mission is to keep only those medals and trophies that are actually special to you, AND that you have room for in your home, preferably to display (and not just have sit in a box in a storage room).
If they're not important enough for you to display in the space you've got available, they may very well be clutter at this point.
Some Of These Awards Can Be Sentimental Clutter
As I mentioned, trophies and awards commemorate specific events, which means they are often sentimental in nature.
Sentimental clutter can be one of the toughest types of clutter to get rid of, so check out my article with tips on how to declutter keepsakes and memorabilia
for some ideas on dealing with your emotions, so you can get rid of it.
One of the best ways I've found that work best for letting go of these types of items is to take a picture of them, so you can remember the award without having to keep the bulk of the large trophy in your home.
Similarly, many people
remove the small plaques from the trophies to remember the event, but without having to keep the larger object in their home.
Finally, if you don't mind getting rid of some of your awards and trophies, but struggle with which ones to keep, I suggest setting aside a specific amount of storage space for these items, and only keeping what will fit. That helps you keep narrowing it down to the most special of the special, so you know the ones you're keeping mean the most to you.
Suggestions For Decluttering Your Children's Awards & Trophies
For some of you, the trophy clutter may not be your own, but your children's awards.
I know we struggle with this issue in my house, because my kids all play competitive sports, and have received a LOT of trophies.
If your kids are still at home, work with them on decluttering these items. You don't know which trophies are the most important to them, and why, without their input, and you'd want the same courtesy of input before someone decluttered your stuff.
I've written an article about how to declutter kids' collections and collectibles
that can help you with guiding your child through the process of making those decisions.
If your kids have grown up and left home, but left the trophies at your house, today's the day to box them all up and make arrangements to give them to them. They can then decide what to do with them in their own home, be that display or declutter themselves, but they don't need to be your responsibility anymore.
One of the big questions I get asked when we do this mission is what to do with the awards you decide to get rid of, so I've provided some ideas below, in the next section of the article.Top photo courtesy of Luke Jones and bottom photo in collage courtesy of slgckgc
Ideas For How To Donate And/Or Recycle Trophies & Medals
Once you've decided which awards to declutter from your home you've still got to figure out what to do with them.
After all, nothing is actually completely decluttered from your home until it leaves your home!
Many people don't want to just dump trophies and medals into the trash, and that makes sense, because that would just contribute to filling up a landfill.
Instead, you can donate the trophies to organizations that can refurbish them so they can be given to someone else as an award, or recycle them so your decluttering is more eco-friendly.
In fact, there's a little cottage industry that has sprung up around this type of decluttering.
You can donate your trophies and some plaques to have them reused elsewhere through Total Awards & Promotions
, and you must pay $1 per trophy you send them. The company's FAQs (which you can find at the link) explain the reason for the fee, what types of trophies are accepted, and answers to other pertinent questions.
Medals from sports and academics (as distinguished from trophies and plaques, which are not accepted) can be donated to Sports Medal Recycling
where they will be recycled, with the proceeds going to charitable causes. You can find out more about what they accept and don't, and where to send medals, in the link provided.
You can also just donate trophies to consignment shops, which will resell them to someone else. Make sure to remove your name and other identifying information from them before doing this.
I'd love to hear more ideas from you below, in the comments, telling me what you've done with these old items, including where you've donated them or recycled them.Photo courtesy of Montgomery Cty Division of Solid Waste Services
Once You've Decided What Awards To Get Rid Of, Display The Rest
As I mentioned, you don't need to declutter every single trophy, ribbon or medal that you've received as part of this mission.
Instead, once you've decided what to declutter it's time to deal with what you have left. Ideally you should display what you've decided to keep, because it meant enough to you to save it. These items shouldn't just be tucked into storage somewhere to be forgotten.
The picture above is from a reader, Keo, who worked on this mission. She said, "I took pictures of sons and plan to do a a butterfly book with them. 7 years of school and about 9 of 4H. Here are some of the ribbons."
Are You Ready To Declutter Your Home?
I hope seeing these pictures has inspired you to get rid of your trophy and award clutter.
When you begin to declutter the feeling you get is contagious, so if you're loving the results you're getting I would encourage you to keep going.
I've got a whole series of 15 minute decluttering missions
(eventually 365 of them!) that you can do.
Just pick and choose the ones you want to do, that will make a big impact in your home. But if you want someone else to tell you the order you can also grab the 15 minute daily decluttering mission calendars
and follow along as we all get our homes clutter free together!
If you've got more collections and collectibles in your home check out these tips for decluttering collections
to see if you should get rid of anything else.
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