Trophies and Plaques and Medals, Oh My!

by | Jan 8, 2022 | Downsizing, Next Chapter Planning, Organizing, Parents, Recycle

I gasped when I heard someone say they threw their old race medals in the trash. I still have every finishers’ medal I ever received from crossing the finish line. They remind me of the hard work and discipline I put into training. As a new grandmother, I also know there will come a day when I need to show proof to my granddaughter that once upon a time I was an athlete.

As life progresses, bigger life events tend to outweigh the significance of the medals, trophies, and plaques taking up space. But still, it’s so hard to give up that physical reminder of the achievements from long ago. Harder yet, is letting go of the trophies your now adult children left behind. Some parents view a child’s trophy as a symbol of their own parenting success.

When I help clients through the downsizing process, we inevitably have to tackle the trophy category. Even though most people are ready to part with the awards, the thought of throwing them in the trash is a challenge. I couldn’t agree more. The trash is the very last resort.

Here are some tips on what to do with old trophies, plaques and medals:

  1. If you love them but simply don’t have room – take pictures of them and save in a digital photo album. Consider including a little note about the award and why it was special to you. Your family may appreciate that bit of history down the road.
  • Some local trophy shops will recycle trophy parts. Call one near you to see if they will accept any of your trophies. If none of your local trophy shops will recycle trophies, here are two companies that promote trophy recycling on their web-sites:

  • List your trophies and awards for free on your community Freecycle page ( There are people who will find creative uses for the awards, including teachers who may use them for classroom awards.
  • Donate your gently used/good condition trophies to Good Will. Yes, I specifically mean Good Will. Not all thrift shops will accept trophies. If you’re worried that someone might know it’s your trophy- drop it off at a Good Will in another neighborhood.
  • Plaques and trophies usually have metal and brass components that are recyclable. You can remove these recyclable pieces and take to a metal recycle center. Recycle what you can and toss the rest, if you must.

While most of us are trying to figure out how to get rid of trophies, celebrities are challenged with how to keep KEEP theirs. Enjoy this fun read…


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