Running experts share how they kick their clutter to the curb
Racers are running out of space.
Once you’ve caught the running bug and started signing up for a race every weekend, it’s easy to get buried under a growing pile of finisher medals, bibs and t-shirts.
New York Road Runners’ editorial director Gordon Bakoulis suggests doing some sole-searching before deciding which race tchotchkes to toss.
“Years before Marie Kondo, I would give a goodbye hug to things that had sentimental value, but were really just taking up space,” she told Moneyish, referencing the best-selling “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” author’s philosophy of only keeping things that spark joy.
“The only trophies I’ve kept are the ones from the Olympic Trials, and the only medal I have is from the 2014 Boston Marathon, which was the one after the bombing,” Bakoulis added.
New York runner Christi Gowen Wong does this six-month test for race t-shirts. “If it sits in a drawer for longer than six months, I put it in a donation bag in the closet,” she told Moneyish. “If in another six months I haven’t gone digging for it, then it goes to Goodwill.”
New research also suggests that taking a photo of something you feel sentimental about makes it easier to give it away. So fill Facebook, Instagram or your Google Photos with running pix and clear your closet.
But if there’s some stuff you just can’t kick, Moneyish tapped runners and road racing pros to dish their best and cheapest decluttering tricks.
Rack em up. The simplest way to organize your race bling is to hang them up. That can be as simple as snagging an IKEA rack, like this $6 Enudden towel hanger, or stringing your hardware along a curtain rod that runs just below the ceiling can make a striking display. Runner’s World told Moneyish that many readers swear by the medal hangers from Gone for a Run ($24.99 to $74.99), which feature motivational phrases like “Finish Strong” or can be customized with your name or personal motto.
Get creative with medals. Your medals can be turned into refrigerator magnets by removing the ribbon and hot-gluing a craft magnet ($4.22 for 15 on Amazon) to the back of the medal itself. Or some crafty runners have turned their lighter-weight medals into Christmas tree ornaments by threading them with small ribbons or ornament hooks.
Make kickass wallpaper. What about bibs? Some medal racks come with bib holders. Or New York runner Liz Simons told Moneyish she’s papered her kitchen wall with all of her bibs since 2008. “It gives me a great sense of joy to see how far I’ve come,” she said. You can also create a collage of your favorite race numbers with a poster frame, like these black Styleline frames starting at $9.99 at Michael’s.
Binders full of bibs. If you’re not crazy about covering your wall with bibs (or you’ve already run out of space), Runner’s World shoe and gear editor Jeff Dengate also suggests buying a cheap metal loose-leaf ring binder (like the $1.92 one-inch ones sold at Staples) and binding race numbers together by poking the rings through the bib’s safety pin holes. “That way you, or friends, can flip through them like a book,” he told Moneyish.
Don’t take the swag. Unless it’s a milestone run – your first marathon, your 50th half marathon – consider skipping the race tee. Or donate your medal to a little kid watching the race if this wasn’t an important race to you.
Turn your shirts into quilts. Sew together those race tees into a throw to snuggle under after long runs. You can DIY for practically free, or services like Race Quilt and Campus Quilt will make them for $129 to $419, depending on the size.
Donate! Medals4Mettle gives your donated race medals to kids and adults fighting debilitating illness to boost their spirits. Shoebox Recycling will refurbish any gently used running sneakers, and has teamed up with Back on My Feet to help fight homelessness through running.
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