Putting Things Away


Over the holidays, I was faced with the majority of my childhood packed into a moving van and delivered to my sisters house. As I shifted through the remnants of my childhood piece by piece I realized just how hard it can be to let the past go. I painstakingly went item by item condensing a dozen boxes into one of keepsakes. I was finally able to let go of those medals and trophies from events that happened almost two decades ago. How often as adults are we showing off a medal or trophy we got as a teenager, unless it’s Olympic if you still have old medals they are probably dusty in a box somewhere. It was time to let them go.

For the last four years I lived in one room with all my belongings, in the last year I moved three times, once across the country, and now find myself sharing a 500sq ft home with my boyfriend, two dogs, and a cat. A theme has popped up over the last couple of years, downsizing.

Goodwill, Salvation Army and other shelters and donation centers have reaped the benefit of my downsizing to a great extent. If you speak with anyone who has downsized their life they will all concur the less they have the more free they are. As I packed up yet another box to be donated to someone in need I packed up something else, my race medals. No, they are not going to be donated, I am not ready to part with them yet. Instead they are just going away out of sight to make room for new goals and adventures.

This year I decided to do something a little different, as the swords, dagger, and baseball bat sit behind a chair in the bedroom, the medals from races past are neatly rolled and tucked away in a closet. Many of my friends have elaborate displays for medals, bibs and other racing collectibles and display them in dens and accomplishment walls around their houses. We don’t have the space or place for such a thing, physically or mentally. Since moving to Utah my medals have sat in a bowl all together from 2010 – 2012. Recently the bowl became pretty full. Really too full to hold anything else.

After coming home from my sisters I decided it was time to unclutter my race bowl to make room for the new. I spent one night rolling the ribbons around each of the medals reliving the races one by one and tucked them into a plastic bin which lives in my closet. Like uncluttering your life by getting rid of things, uncluttering your race life is a key to allowing new adventures to come. It’s a great way for you to not let your past successes lead to a complacent place. Sure I did keep a few medals out from years past, a couple like that one box of childhood stuff that I had strong bonds to, my first ultra marathon, the Peak ultra, and the Spartan Ultra Beast.

Otherwise my medal bowl is fairly empty these days. Free to make room for new medals and new achievements to fill it back up. Right now it’s sitting with just one new medal, my new years day marathon. With so many races again this year it is bound to fill up with lots of bling and even more memories. For now it’s a new year and an almost empty bowl ready to be filled with all there is to come.

Margaret Schlachter

About Margaret Schlachter

Margaret Schlachter is Founder of She has been part of the OCR Community since 2010. When not working on the next article she can be found running from race-to-race. She is Editor-in-Chief of She authored the book Obstacle Race Training.
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