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How To Declutter Old Trophies, Medals & Awards

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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.

How to declutter old trophies, medals and other awards from your home, including how to get rid of these sentimental items through donation and recycling {one of the #Declutter365 missions on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
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

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Ideas For How To Donate And/Or Recycle Trophies & Medals

Ideas for where to donate and recycle old trophies, medals and ribbons when decluttering your home {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

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

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Once You've Decided What Awards To Get Rid Of, Display The Rest

Display the ribbons, medals, trophies and other awards that you receive, or get rid of them if you have too much to actually enjoy and be proud of {#Declutter365 mission on Home Storage Solutions 101}

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."

Want To Do More Decluttering Missions? Get Started With Declutter 365 Today!

Declutter 365 missions: 15 minute missions for your entire home

Once you declutter one type of item in your home I bet you'll want to declutter some more. After all, decluttering gives you a great reward for even a small investment of time and energy.

The Declutter 365 system is designed to help you declutter, over the course of a year, your entire house, with just 15 minutes of decluttering each day!

Hundreds of thousands of people use this proven system to get rid of their clutter, and bring peace and calm back to their homes.

Declutter 365 works to guide you to clear the clutter without overwhelm, focusing on just one small area at a time, and without making a huge mess in the process, so you see consistent forward progress without all that "messy middle" that makes it even harder to function in your home than before you started.

In addition to building a daily decluttering habit, the Declutter 365 program, along with the accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, teaches you the skills, habits, routines, and mindsets necessary to maintain the clutter free and organized state of your home from now on, so it'll never be as messy and cluttered as it is right now, ever again.

If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission. Then, repeat again tomorrow, and again and again. Over the course of the next year, if you do this 15 minutes per day, you'll declutter your whole house!

Click here to take me to this year's Declutter 365 calendar

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.

How to declutter collections and collectibles

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Clutter Free 15 Minutes At A Time Hall Of Fame

Get Rid Of Clutter Hall Of Fame

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Comments for Once You've Decided What Awards To Get Rid Of, Display The Rest

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How to remove name plates
by: Bonnie

I want to give away award clocks that have my name on a plaque affixed to the clock. I don't want my personal info on these items. How do I do this? The jeweler said he might be able to do it but would charge me $36! Any better ideas?

scrap metal recycling paid well
by: Anonymous

I did the picture thing then removed the plaques. I then took them to Padnoff's (scrap metal recycling) I actually got paid fairly well for them. It broke my heart until I got the check.....

local community theatres
by: Melinda

Some theatres may want your awards/trophies to use in shows. Check with local theatres if they have a need for awards they can use as a prop or set decoration.

Silly Idea
by: Ellen

We have trophies of my husband’s adult children, and we’re going to send them to them as gag Christmas gifts. Then they can make the decision of whether they want to keep them or not. (We will also send "real" gifts.)

Donated to organization
by: Anonymous

We donated our trophies and medals to a local school for children with mental challenges. The school was thrilled to have them to award to the students and the students love receiving them.

treasures of the heart
by: Anonymous

After my beloved son parted from us I looked for his things to feel he wasn't really gone. I found his baby book, his "bronzed" little shoes and various sports awards. I had offered some of these things to his new wife some years ago, but she declined. Now he has a son, and I will keep them for now as my treasures. Hopefully his only child will appreciate and enjoy them some day.

What to do with old trophies and medals
by: Kara Post

I'm a teacher and I love getting donations of unwanted trophies and medals. I use them for special recognition in my classes (competitions, personal achievement, etc.). My students love getting them!

You can donate Old Medals and Ribbons
by: Michelle Byers-Robson

There is a group I've donated to called Medals for Mettle. They work with pediatric hospitals and present Medals to kiddos that have gone through a tough time/procedure. They request that when you donate your medals - attach a short bio of the race or event where you earned it and why it meant something to you. If you have any encouraging words, send that too.

They really love it if it's a neat award - for example, they love any of the Disney races/events and there is one called the Dipsea race that has a bear on it's medal - kiddos love those.

You do have to pay for your own shipping and that can get heavy - but you can write off the shipping cost.

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