Day 243 Memory clutter

There is one thing or actually a big group of things in my home that are looking down the barrel of being decluttered before the 365 days are up. The group in question are my old sports trophies. I have mentioned these before and still haven’t done anything about them but the day of reckoning is coming.

Trophies come under the same banner as souvenirs and little trinkets that serve no other purpose but to remind you of days gone by. They scream “look what I did”, “look where I’ve been” and maybe even the sad cry of  “I’m living in the past”. Personally unless your future appears dull and you aren’t likely to create any new achievements or live any new adventures do you really need to live in the past.

No matter what your age or circumstance you always have the ability to make new memories, achieve something new and possibly visit new places. My bad shoulder may have put an end to my softball and indoor cricket days but there are plenty of interesting things to do with my time like reaching out to a world of people with my blog to name just one.

Sure these old adventures and  achievements are worth remembering but they weren’t so dull that you need clutter to constantly remind you of those days. I know I don’t need my trophies to remind me of the good times I had with old friends and the individual set of talents I had that contributed to our sporting achievements. I will always remember those days and the great lessons learned from some wonderful coaches and mentors. I just don’t need to dust those memories every week.

I will however get my husband to photograph the trophies and I may even save the little plaques from the front of each of them but even then I expect I will rarely look back at those photos but they will be there just in case.


More of my husbands clothes that have gone to charity


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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. I think you need to be IN the picture with the trophies – makes it more personal! Then save the little plaques to go with the picture and ta-da you have an envelope full of memories that never needs dusting. Oh, I like the sound of those three words “never needs dusting.”

  2. My ex was not very happy about my sudden success when I started ultrarunning at the ripe age. At first my trophies were displayed, then moved to a box, and the next house move I finally got rid of them (because I love decluttering, and since they are in a box anyway…). The only thing I wish I had done is taken picture of them, as you said, just in case. But in general, now that I am re-married and he is proud like hell of all I do and wishes to display, I still discard the trophies – as they come. I only have a box of belt buckles on a mantel (what we get for finishing a 100M foot race, all of us, no matter time or place). This is staying.

    • Good for you, Olga!!! It is my husband’s dream to run a 100-miler. I think discarding the trophies and holding onto the memories of each race is a great way to keep you decluttered and light on your feet. 🙂

  3. I think it’s important to remember the past and cherish it but I have learned that I can do that with a photo instead of the actual object. The memory is still there. You can take individual pictures or a group arrangement but honor the achievement and let go of the object!

  4. In many communities, there are non-profit organizations that will take your old trophies. For leagues without a lot of money, it may be the only way to give the kids a trophy. Here are two and

  5. I think taking a photo of trophies and other such mementos is a great way of cherishing the memories without having them physically cluttering up your life. I had a trophy….once. I kept it until it started falling apart and then I trashed it after I read “Clutter’s Last Stand” by Don Aslett. It was a relief not to have to dust it anymore.

  6. I really have trouble with the more sentimental items. I’m finding it fairly easy to part with expensive items, items I *wish* I would use but I don’t, and all those types of things. But I still find myself asking all the time: Can I, or should I, unclutter the sentimental items?

    • Hi Barb,
      just do what you feel comfortable with maybe later you will feel happier to deal with the sentimental stuff. Remember it isnt a race we all go at our own pace.

  7. Hi Colleen,
    I am really enjoying going over your journey, the reason I started to go back was because there is no sugar and fluff like so many other guides and blogs. You had the guts to admit that you had too much and that you wanted to change things & habits and enough was enough, you did it ‘publicly’ so to speak and addressed it one day and thing at a time and picked up fans along the way and helped them, and I’m sure what you’ve achieved has made you profoundly happy! You should have a trophy for that! LOL. Just wish I’d thought of it when I had had enough Haha!
    I found another that you posted and it was great. I dare say you could re-post your whole journey of 365 and it will still be great cos there are so many topics that will ‘Ring’ with so many!
    Day 243 MEMORY CLUTTER, this is definitely a great topic. We are a sporty family and have a large amount of trophies, his are Cricket & Football mostly, mine Netball, Swimming, Gymnastics, Softball & also Academic awards, now just Dance (sorry if that sounds smarmy, not meant to be!) our son has been acquiring trophies for Academics Swimming and Dance. Makes a huge dust collecting pile!! Haha! I hope this doesn’t sound smug but some of the trophies we had and still have are HUGE. Huge in size so therefore huge in dust holding abilities and space taking chunks!
    I sorted all mine many years ago, I removed the award plate and donated the trophies to Primary Schools to be re-used, they were beautiful trophies and well made back then, real wood and brass etc.
    When I met my hubby we moved into our house with a huge amount of his trophies and started collecting more. When our son was born we had started weeding out trophies to be donated back and re-used, they can be quite expensive to a club, we kept the award plates. Medals are another thing I find annoying but I shall deal with them as well. As for all my sons’ trophies and medals, they are on display but slowly get moved to his room and an ornate box, I am proud of my achievements and my hubs but we have gotten satisfaction from being able to pass on our knowledge and help build skills in youngsters over the years through coaching & tutoring etc, this I loved and I also let the mums know that when the time comes to deal with trophies & medals, there are some really nice options. I am immensely proud of our sons’ achievements too, what I am most proud of is his ability to see through all the ‘hype’ and get to the ‘real’. He has said himself that he doesn’t need a trophy to show that he is or was good at something, just knowing he achieved it is enough in his eyes!
    I chucked out my award nameplates, hubby can decide what to do with his!

    • Hi Dizzy,
      I do have a trophy it is the smile on my face and all my wonderful readers who are making a difference in there lives and the planet. Best trophy ever ( recycled all my others). My husband only really looked closely at my trophies when I was about to declutter them and said, your trophies are actually for achieving something not just showing up. I had to laugh. Even after saying that his are all still here and mine are gone. Like you I know what I did and it was fun at the time but that was then and this is now. I prefer to help others rather than fight for my own glory and I don’t expect any awards for it.

  8. One year, my husband and I were on a bowling team that won the league championship. We were awarded large trophies and had a team picture taken with them. Then the trophies were put in the glass cabinet at the bowling alley. By reusing them every year and just putting the team name and year on a plate, the league could save the trophy money each year and just give monetary awards and have a nice party. We love our picture and especially liked not having to figure out what to do with the Large trophies. Money was better. Also, bowling give patches for high games, high sets, etc. The ones I won over the years fit into a mini ziplock bag. I used to wear them on my bowling shirt but the shirt is gone and I just kept the patches. It’s fun to remember and since my son now bowls on 2 leagues, he enjoys seeing the badges we won.