Downsizing: What to Do with the Trophies?

Sixth grade. The only year I made straight A’s until my last semester in college.

The year I won two writing contests.

The year I beat everyone in my class, including all the boys, at cross country.

The year I was nominated for Student of the Year and given the trophy above.

My girls have no sentiment whatsoever toward the trophies they earned, some for significant athletic, academic, or musical accomplishments. “I don’t want them,” they each told me. “Please get rid of them.”

The millennials are tough. They don’t like a lot of stuff sitting around.

So what do you do with your children’s trophies if they refuse to take them?

What do you do with your own trophies?

The decision can be even more difficult if you’ve inherited trophies awarded to a parent, and that parent is now gone.

How can you put such mementos in the trash?

If you’re willing to pay for shipping, here are two companies that take trophies, and one that takes medals. Awards that aren’t personalized will be donated to organizations in need, and those that are personalized are broken apart and many of the parts used again.


Lamb Awards and Engraving

Awards Mall


Sports Medal Recycling

You can also check with your local awards shop to see if they have a recycling program.

Feeling crafty? Check out some of these ideas on Pinterest:

And look what they’re doing on Etsy. This old guy was re-purposed as a trophy for an Ugliest Christmas Sweater contest:

As for my Student of the Year trophy, I thought I was ready to give it up when I unpacked it a few weeks ago.

But then I set it on my desk bookcase for the blog photo, and it seems to fit. I think I’ll keep it a bit longer. The decision is easier for me since this is the only trophy I ever received. And even though I didn’t end up winning Student of the Year, six grade sure was a good year.

15 thoughts on “Downsizing: What to Do with the Trophies?”

  1. Congrats! I haven’t won any trophies but my husband has a few and I’m not sure that my girls will be interested in inheriting them so I feel your pain. BTW, I like your trophy with its Art Deco-style figures. You’ve done a lot of downsizing; why don’t you keep this one?


  2. I took pictures of my kids trophies, then threw them out…didn’t know about the recycling opportunities. My kids didn’t want them and don’t hold onto stuff they aren’t using. All older generational trophies are long gone and I don’t miss them.


  3. I have a hard time getting rid of things like that. OK, you don’t to hear this! (more keeping stuff LOL) but, I have found with my older grandkids 12 and 13 years old that they are sometimes interested in the things of their parents! So maybe save some for the grandkids. Depends on the personality of the child but, some really enjoy the nostalgia and some don’t. My son is very sentimental and wants to keep many things, and my daughter doesn’t want anything that doesn’t have some very, very special meaning. However, I discovered that they became more interested after age 25 through 30 than any time before. So I got rid of some stuff too soon!! Just thoughts from my experiences…


      1. You bet! It’s Ok if you did get rid of some stuff too soon. I did too. I am now making small trunks or totes for the grandkids to give them when they are older of their parents items that they may want. I try to do it by personality but, with the younger ones that’s harder so I just have to kind of do a little bit of everything in there and hope they like some of it. Like some favorite books, some art work, a toy or doll, stuffed animals, awards, cards/letters from relatives, clothing items that were special, and pictures…


  4. Thank you Barbara! Great piece! It seemed like my kids got a trophy every time they did ANYTHING, so we had a lot of them when we moved to VA, and most of them were pretty crappy quality. The kids didn’t want the participation trophies and kept the few that were truly special. i love the recycling options: hopefully these organizations won’t refuse to take more like the Wedding Gown and Christmas Cards ones did when they were overrun with them. xoxo


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