trophies 2.jpg

"What do I do with old awards, trophies, and plaques?” ask several clients as they downsize their homes.

Physical items received for a sports championship or a prize-winning 4-H heifer or recognition of community or employment service remind us of hard work and accomplishment.  Perhaps we also have an award that was presented to a parent or grandparent.

What do we do when we are downsizing and have less space to keep them?

Ask yourself, do I want to display this item and am I inspired when I see it?   If the answer is YES, display it where you can appreciate it.

If the response is NO, perhaps it’s time to let it go. 

Here are a few options as you consider YES or NO: 

  • If you have a large collection of trophies, corral as many as will fit in one bookshelf.  The visual image of one packed shelf can be more pleasing than seeing them scattered around your home.

  • Choose one award to represent each part of your life  (one for youth accompaniment, one for adult recreational sports, etc.)

  • Photograph each item and place those images with their story in a memory book. Or take one photo of you and all the awards. Let the actual items go.

  • Remove diplomas or certificates from their frames and add those to the memory book, too. 

  • Create a shadow box (professional or DIY) with the plaques from various trophies, a photograph of the recipient at work or play, and other items of various textures  (certificate, prize-winning ribbon, golf-tee or curling glove) to represent awards or hobbies. Check Pinterest for ideas to create your personalized shadow box. 

Perhaps the item has had its time. With a nod of gratitude for that time and honour in your life, is it just time to let it go?  

If so, can it be donated, recycled or up-cycled?

  • If the award is in good condition, would the school or organization who presented it or a local museum (including Legion for recognition of service) wish to display it? 

  • Take time to observe your community. Are there rinks, golf courses, or theme restaurants that could use that item especially if it is a large old team photograph or a trophy?

  • Could a trophy be used for another recipient in the same sport organization or for a local school?

  • Could the top of the trophy be used as a cake-topper for the recipient’s birthday or for others who enjoy the same activity?

  • What can your local recycling depot tell you about disposing of the item?

For those of us who are nostalgic, letting go of awards, trophies, and plaques can be difficult.  This is not a downsizing activity to do quickly. Ponder your options as you work on other projects so you will be content with your decisions.