Trophies & Awards … Simple Ideas to Help you Declutter and Display …

Trophies & Awards … Simple Ideas to help you Declutter & Display


Now that the kids have been back at school for a couple of weeks, I’ve had some extra time to devote to a few little projects around the house. I’m slowly working from room to room, decluttering as I go and I’ve been pretty ruthless. It really feels great to get rid of stuff that I no longer need and that is simply taking up space.


I was helping Miss 16 clear out her room and we found a big box of trophies, medals and ribbons hiding in the top of her wardrobe. Over the years she has played a lot of different sports, accumulating quite a few trophies and we found ourselves pondering what to do with them! She didn’t want to display them all but was also a bit conflicted over whether or not to keep them. These were symbols of her achievements and hard work, so she was a little sentimental but then she had to admit they were just hiding in a box in the top of the cupboard.


I was happy to let her decide and here are a couple of questions I suggested she think about:


  • Do these trophies/awards continue to provide you with motivation and inspiration? If you have devoted most of your time to a particular sport, e.g. golf or netball, your original trophies may remind you of your humble beginnings and how far you’ve come, but do you need to keep them all?


  • Do you really want them or are you keeping them because you think they mean so much to someone else? You may be ready to get rid of your trophies but Mum or Dad may not.


  • Are you the same person now that you were then? If you have trophies or awards for things that are no longer important to you or for things that you didn’t particularly love and only participated in half-heartedly … let them go. You’ll most likely be happy with your decision and have no regrets.


  • Do you want to use up space storing or displaying these trophies? You might be glad you no longer have to worry about keeping them clean, as they tend to be terrible dust collectors.


  • Do you feel guilty about getting rid of them? Don’t because even if your get rid of the trophy, you will still have the memories.


  • And the ultimate test, if your house burned to the ground tomorrow, would you miss those trophies or awards? If the answer is no, let them go.


So, what did we do with them?


She decided for herself that she want to keep some but not all of the trophies. I suggested she choose perhaps one for each sport that represented either her greatest or most memorable achievement. She thought that was a good idea and decided to keep the following:


  • Her basketball medal, which she was awarded when her team won the Queensland State Titles because it represented such a huge achievement and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.


  • Her karate trophy for “Most Improved” as it acknowledged that she had worked extremely hard and made significant personal progress.


  • Her favourite Netball trophy, because it was a sport she has played since she was 5 years old, and will most likely continue to play as an adult.


Ultimately, it was the life lessons she had learned when winning these trophies that was far more important than the trophy itself. These sports and hobbies taught her about team work, how to be fair, the real meaning of sportsmanship, the value of persistence, respect for rules and officials, the courage to never give up and to fight to the end. Participating also gave her a healthy lifestyle, confidence, irreplaceable memories and great friends. The experiences she gained were invaluable and important … not the trophy. In future years, she will also remember the funny things that happened during training and on trips away more so than the trophy itself.


So if you want to get rid of some trophies/awards/certificates and create some space, here are a couple of ideas that might help:


  • Take a photo of the trophy so that you still have a reminder of what it looked like. If you don’t want to display the trophy, then don’t waste space storing something that isn’t important to you anymore … get rid of it or it simply becomes clutter.


  • Frame a photo of you receiving the trophy.


  • If the trophy was for a significant event, your parents or another relative may enjoy displaying the trophy if you no longer want it, so offer it to them. Although they may not have won the award themselves, they may still be incredibly proud of the achievement and wish to show it off.


  • If as an adult, you now teach, coach or mentor young students, you’re trophies may act as a great incentive to those kids. In that case, display them in nice cabinet in a school, clubhouse or studio.


  • Before throwing trophies away, contact a local trophy store as there may be a recycling program that makes use of the figurine, metal plaques or any wood. If not, you could also contact your local Council for some recycling suggestions. There may be organisations that recycle and reuse older trophies for charities. Local theatres or drama groups might also be interested in using some as props for plays or performances.


  • If the Certificate or Award is for academic results and is relevant, create a portfolio and add it there.


  • If the trophy/Certificate/Award is relevant to your work or professional career, frame and/or display the item in your office or workplace.


At the end of the day, it’s a very personal choice what you do with your trophies, etc. If they have become clutter and no longer hold the same meaning for you, let them go. If, however, you can’t bare to part with them, display them proudly on a tabletop, a shelf or a glass cabinet and enjoy them.


So tell me, do you or your kids have many trophies? What sport or activity did you win them for and do you display them or keep them in a box in the cupboard?

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