Solving the mug clutter problem

In my grandmother’s farmhouse, at the center of the kitchen table, stood a mug tree. From the branches of the mug tree hung four coffee cups in varying shapes and sizes. Whenever her friends or family members would visit, they would have a seat at the table, grab themselves a mug, and my grandmother would pour them a warm cup of coffee.

If you have the kind of life where people drop in on a daily basis for coffee and a chat, I like the idea of a mug tree. A mug tree keeps cumbersome mugs out of the cupboard and is an inviting element in a kitchen. Unfortunately, I live in an area where people write each other e-mails, survey their calendars, and schedule appointments to meet at coffee shops instead of stopping by each other’s homes on a whim. A mug tree in my house would have two cups on it used each morning by my husband and me, and two mugs that would simply collect dust.

As a result, I use a shelf in the kitchen cupboard to store coffee mugs. And, if you do the same thing, you know that coffee mugs and tea cups take up a lot of shelf space. Even if you use an under-shelf storage system for mugs, they still get in the way.

I recently went searching for stacking mugs, in an attempt to reclaim some of our kitchen shelf space and found these from Heath Ceramics:

I’ve ordered a handful to replace the chipped and faded ones in our cupboard. We’ll see if they help save space and keep the cupboards organized.

What do you do to keep mugs from overwhelming your cupboards? How do you organize your coffee cups? What is the “right” number of mugs for your home? And, when was the last time you checked on your mug population to make sure it wasn’t getting out of control?

70 Comments for “Solving the mug clutter problem”

  1. posted by Annette on

    We have a mismash of mugs in our house. When it’s too hard to unload clean ones into the cabinet I take them all and weed out the most unloved, ugly and chipped. Depending on their condition they go to the “yardsale” bin in the garage or the trash.

  2. posted by Beccbrown on

    I would love to hear more solutions on this topic! Mug overflow is and issue that my mom had when I was growing up and now I seem to have inherited. Problem is she has plenty of room and I live in an NYC apt.

  3. posted by Heather on

    Walmart also sells stackable coffee mugs. We’ve had them for over a year now and they seem to hold up pretty well! I got the black ones so you can’t see the coffee stains πŸ™‚

  4. posted by Julia on

    I think coffee mugs mate when we’re not looking. I hate throwing useful things away, so when I found myself overrun, I picked out a handful that I really liked, and broke up the others for use as fill in the bottom of plant pots!

    I still have too many, but at least most of the ones I have left have some sort of meaning or are Exactly the Right Size.

  5. posted by liz on

    We have 8 mugs from Ikea – they stack and take up the space of two cups (our cabinets are spaced to be one-tall-travel-coffee-mug-from-Starbucks high, which is the same as four mugs. They are very cute, and come in many colors.

  6. posted by Carson Chittom on

    Even though my wife and I are the only two at our house who drink coffee (which we do every morning, and she often has a cup midafternoon), we have about 8 readily available coffee mugs stacked two-high in a row, with three or four stored on a high shelf. The main reason is that we have three children under the age of four, who of course need a lot of attention—so often by necessity the coffecup just gets set down wherever is convenient in the moment. When we start running low on mugs, we go through the house, collect them all, and wash them then. Since by the time we go through 8 mugs we usually need to wash dishes anyway, we’ve found this to be the most efficient approach for our time.

    But as someone who appreciates decluttering, this approach used to really bug me. Eventually, though, I realized that by letting it bug me I was sacrificing the end (making things easier on me and my family) to the means (keeping clutter away).

  7. posted by Anna N. on

    I currently have them sitting on a shelf just outside my kitchen door (my kitchen is tiny and has unbelievably limited storage) but in the past I hung them over the door which is decorative as well as space-saving.

    I would never buy the mug you pictured – stacking is nice, but I use mugs with handles with room for at least three, preferably all four, of my fingers. Mugs with one-finger-handles are just not pleasant for me.

  8. posted by Wendy on

    I have one of those folding/expanding peg things right behind the sink and under the cupboard. My mugs are mostly gifts, but in matching sets of three, and I bought a few more to match. Some are wider short mugs that I use for soup and cereal, so they all get a fair amount of use. The undershelf wire mesh storage you linked to comes in handy in other parts of my house, especially the linen closet. I use those for washcloths and hand towels and other misc items that I put in shallow plastic containers that easily slip in and out like a drawer.

  9. posted by April on

    We have 6 mugs…one for each memeber of the family, plus DH and I each have a travel mug. They are stored on a HIGH shelf in the cupboard since they are rarely used.

  10. posted by Joy on

    I admit, I go more the mug-tree route. I have a big accordion style peg thing that I inherited from my mom. Okay, more like, I am taking that with me when I move from the house. We also had smaller ones that we hung in our closets for oversized jewelry and scarves. Anyway, I have it hung on the wall in our dining room with all sorts of mugs. I host a hot drink party at least once a winter and I just tell people to grab a mug off the wall. I grab one each morning for my coffee or tea. I rotate which ones I take so they never get dusty.

    There are a couple things I like about it. One: it’s on the wall, not a table. Two: it’s almost like an art piece. People see the different mugs and can say, I didn’t know you had been to X. The choice of mug is also a great conversation starter at parties for those who don’t know each other. Three: seeing how many mugs I actually own helps dictate purchase and purge. If I have an extra peg, and I’m visiting a place, I will get that cool mug. If I don’t, no mug purchase. Also, when I discover a chip in a mug, it’s easier for me to look at the wall and realize I have enough or I have one that invokes the same or similar memory. Then I just take a picture (if it’s a memory thing) and off it goes. Or if I notice I never want to use a certain one, I can donate it.

    Oh, and what I do with travel mugs: I have a basket I keep on top of the fridge. When it gets full, I purge the ones that don’t have tops anymore or are getting kinda crusty. My husband and I tend to get a lot of freebies at work and also as gifts.

  11. posted by Liz Kay on

    We use larger mugs daily, stored on hooks, but we received these stacking mugs from World Market as a wedding gift and the rack is pretty enough to display on the counter. We rearranged them in reverse rainbow order so we know when our mug levels are dangerously low.

  12. posted by Michele on

    I went through and donated and repurposed most of my odd-man-out coffee mugs a few years ago. Now I keep on hand some diner-style ceramic mugs, which stack upside down nicely, and a few teacups. K keep two or three mugs that don’t match anything because they remind me of where I got them from (a friend, an internship) and where I used them (the cup I used for afternoon tea during law school). These get rotated in the bathroom, where I use ’em to contain the toothbrushes and toothpaste on the counter.

    My rule is to keep only what I can fit in the cupboard. Since that number is compatible with what I can fit in the dishwasher, I’m good to go.

  13. posted by Laurie on

    As a wedding gift, I was given stackable mugs from World Market. They are easy to put out if we have friends over, but also stores away nicely in the cupboard.

    You can find them here for $10.

  14. posted by Blair on

    I’m the only coffee/tea drinker. We have a set of six Stax mugs (cheap, white stackable mugs from BBB), and that seems to be about the right amount.

    However, I just realized we got really big mugs (and lots of them) from our wedding registry to go with our plates and whatnot. Hmm, this could be an issue.

  15. posted by Adventure-Some Matthew on

    Oh no, I’ve got far too many mugs! Alas!
    I have half a shelf of mugs, two different sets (8 and 4), plus a couple of hand-made ones. Fortunately, we have enough room for these, and we have company (Bible study group) come over often enough that these numbers come in handy. Otherwise, the big set would go…

  16. posted by Kissa on

    We have exactly 2 mugs–my wide-mouthed brown one, and my fiance’s green speckled one. We only used our favorites anyway, so there was no point in keeping the rest. They don’t match at all, but I don’t mind.

  17. posted by Kathryn on

    “What’s that?”
    “It’s a cup.”
    “What, a new cup?”
    “Yeah, it’s a new cup. Do you like it?
    “But we’ve already got a cup.”
    “I know, we’ve got one cup. We needed two cups.”
    “Why do we need two cups?”
    “So I can have a cup of tea at the same time as you.”
    “Brett, do you even pay any attention to the cup roster?”

  18. posted by Vanessa H. on

    I’m sentimental about my coffee mugs. It seems silly but it’s true. I recently bought a set of 4 mugs on sale at Crate + Barrel and thought I would get rid of 4 mismatched at home. I unloaded the 4 new mugs and then wrapped the 4 old ones in the same paper and put the in the bag, and set it by the door to go to Goodwill. The problem is, they sat there all week, and then I pulled two mugs out. It shouldn’t be hard to get rid of a coffee mug!

  19. posted by Alix on

    The question is, what do you do with extra mugs? They multiply like rabbits! Where does one unload several dozen mugs hawking the number of pints of blood given, or the latest weight-loss drug? There must be someone, somewhere who can recycle them or do SOMETHING with them!

  20. posted by Peter on

    I hang my mugs under the cupboards. It’s a set of 8, which seems to be a good number. I’ve got other drink-ware in the cupboards and I try to keep it pared down as best I can. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve got a set of glasses that hasn’t been used since I don’t know when. I’m gonna go see about getting rid of them.

  21. posted by Lee on

    We purged our ugly mugs and kept only what we like and we would be willing to use for guests (who wants to serve guest with an ugly mug). They are in a double row (could also douple the space by using a riser shelf) on the first shelf in the upper cabinet next to the stove. Above them are the teas and the cocoa mixes. Mug storage, ingredient storage, cooktop for heating water, and a small amount of counter space for preparation are conviently close together and the teapot stays on a back burner of the cooktop.

    We rationalize the need for a slightly larger collection as we often entertain groups in the winter and it is nice to have enough mugs for everyone.

    Heath Ceramics is WONDERFUL (yes, I’m shouting my praise). My husband noticed them while reading Dwell magazine. When we were visiting our son in San Francisco, we made a short trip to Sausalito to visit the studio. Their pieces are beautiful and durable. They also have sections for seconds and thirds, so you can get many pieces at a much lower price. Many defects are small. We often start in those sections and complete a set with pieces from the first quality area.

    We have noticed that we were using various colors their pottery when dining in several very nice San Francisco restaurants. Also, they ship (worth the price if you’re flying) and are very quick to respond if something is damaged in the shipment (only happened once). Great company and the producsts are made in the US, providing jobs for local workers.

  22. posted by Carrie on

    i have fiestaware java mugs that stack well enough. i’ve currently got 7 but will eventually get 12 the same as i plan to do with all the rest of my fiestaware.

  23. posted by dale on

    use cup hooks – they screw into the underside of cabinets or shelves. very convenient, keeps them out of sight and out of the way.

  24. posted by Amy on

    I have noticed a couple of people have the same set I have from World Market. I have the larger multi colored set. I completely love them, they add color to my kitchen and they double as PERFECT soup bowls.

  25. posted by Kari on

    We have two sets of mugs–everyday and “party.” Everyday includes about 15-20 individual mugs (most are either hand made or from a place special to us)–my husband rotates three or four at any given time in the kitchen, and the rest have a storage space in the basement. We also have around 40 or so party mugs–in the Fall and at the winter holidays, we have a couple of large parties (50-60 people), where we serve hot cider (fall) and wassail (winter) and we bought a bunch of cheap ikea mugs ($.50 each) that we use to avoid both the expense and the waste of something disposable. Between this set and our other mugs, we can serve everyone effectively. These live in an old wine case in the basement.

    For us, these mugs are not clutter. We use them, we have a place to store them, and they help us fulfill other values like saving $$ and reducing our footprint in some small way.

  26. posted by Eastporter on

    I love Heathware! My parents fell in love with it in a restaurant in San Francisco in 1965 and went to the factory in Sausalito the next day. They registered for it for their 1966 wedding, and although the marriage didn’t last, the dinnerware has. It’s now mine, and I’ve collected various additional serving pieces over the years. I absolutely love it! For my mom’s 60th birthday, I took her back to San Francisco and we visited the factory in Sausalito. The company is now run by a young couple who is loyal to Ms. Heath’s original 40s-era designs and is reproducing them. Very cool story, very cool dishes, and great tiles too!

  27. posted by Steven Eldredge on

    I live in a small but well-organized apt in New York City. My answer is simple: 3 mugs. 2 I actually use and an extra up on the top shelf in case one of the other two breaks. Several years ago I went through all my dishes and glassware and pared everything down to the minimum. Since I don’t have a dishwasher, I wash everything by hand and nothing can pile up, so two mugs suits me just fine.

  28. posted by Carrie B. on

    Mugs are my vessel of choice for all beverages (and some other types of food) including milk, water, juice, beer and wine. Yes, beer and wine, too. I have a set of four black, ceramic mugs, four larger, glazed-inside-black-outside mugs, and three or four random mugs. Each time I get a new “random” mug, another one has to go. Voila. Our space is consistent and I’m “rich” with usable mugs that stay out of the way until I call upon them. Now if I could get the husband to do the same thing with his stainless steel bottles…

  29. posted by Magchunk on

    When we combined households I got rid of all but one of my mismatched mugs and we kept my man’s set of six latte cups. They definitely take up space in the cupboard, but he loves the big size and we are lucky to have the storage space to keep them. Since we have only four decent-sized bowls, the latte mugs have often done double-duty as soup bowls at dinner parties, and they are oven safe – perfect for homemade pot pie. The one mug I kept was for sentimental reasons. We’ve since added one mug – a freebie from the doughnut place we love near our apartment and is the perfect petite size for my morning coffee (I get too hyped if I misjudge how much coffee is going into those big mugs).

  30. posted by amybee on

    We use some of the “hang onto for sentimental reasons” mugs for non-coffee swilling purposes, such as toothbrush/toothpaste holders, make up brush holder, q-tips, cotton balls, etc.

  31. posted by Jay on

    We have four family members and four clear glass mugs with a handle, from IKEA. As soon as we finish with our drink (typically hot chocolate), we clean the mug. We do not have a dishwasher, but mugs are easy to clean, since nothing is baked on to them. Since we clean the mug after using it, we need only one mug per person.

  32. posted by missdona on

    Those from heath ceramics are lovely, but $27.50 for 1 mug? That’s crazy, even for me, who loves to see the value in things and pay if it’s worth it.

  33. posted by Diane on

    Repurpose the mugs you can’t give away. Use them as holders for pencils, pens, paintbrushes, paperclips, even small flower cuttings.

  34. posted by Nana on

    Since I prefer cup-and-saucer, my mug collection is limited to those made/decorated by my kids. Happily, there are only a few. Had a friend over who was suprised to be offered a 30-year-old [but nice] child-decorated mug. I don’t save anything because it’s “too good” to use.

  35. posted by Anita on

    I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do love my tea. I have a stoneware tea set with a teapot and 4 small, stackable, handle-less cups that I break out any time I have people over for tea, or the boyfriend and I feel like it.

    For the rest of the time, I have 4 mugs that came with my dinnerware set. They’re big, thick and perfect for keeping tea hot for quite a while. I probably don’t need 4, but they do seem like a small blessing whenever I’m sick and washing the last mug of NeoCitran before making a new one feels like hard manual labour.

    I also keep one mug (a big ceramic thing that I painted myself) at work along with a box of oolong tea.

    My boyfriend, on the other hand, likes blending his own tea and wants to start collecting Asian tea sets. So far he’s got 4 teapots and an assortment of cups and other tea-serving paraphernalia. We don’t live together, but if we do get there, that’s one of the things that will need… discussing.

  36. posted by Jeni on

    I am a mug collector (Starbucks Mug Collector that is). Unfortunately I run out of room and it’s like a Janga game to get them stored. When one comes tumbling down then it’s time to get a new one.
    I share a space though, so there’s my roomies cups in there too. I think when I get my own place that I’ll have a shelf dedicated to my favorite Starbucks mugs for display. I have regular coffee drinkers come over and ask “where are the coffee cups” but when they are on display they won’t have to ask anymore. :]

  37. posted by Ann Marie on

    We have gathered many mugs over the years (maybe 12-15) with sentimental value. We’ve inherited mugs from family and friends and purchased mugs to commemorate a special event or occasion. So we can’t just throw away all but 2 or 4 mugs to save space. We also strongly prefer the diner-style mugs, so we don’t go the stacking route. We have a mug tree that holds 6 mugs. We put the tree with those mugs on the kitchen counter in a corner, and the mugs are very easily accessible. All other mugs get stored on a ground-level shelf in the kitchen. Every once in a while, we go through the overflow and rotate the selection. With our system, the extra mugs can be almost completely inaccessible because we only rotate twice a year.

  38. posted by Bill Burge on

    While this is a fine idea, this is sort of the Opera Winfrey solution to stackable mugs. Everything Heath makes is beautiful, but very expensive. Most people won’t be purchasing coffee mugs that cost $27.50ea + s/h.

  39. posted by chacha1 on

    I like the idea of smashing old mugs to use as drainage chips in plant pots.

    We used to have an assortment of souvenir-type mugs. Then my sistahz sent us two pair of gorgeous handmade ceramic mugs from local artists in their community, and the others all went to Goodwill.

    Except we do have a set of china “company cups” – ten matched muglets for when we have parties. They live in the very top cabinet ’cause they don’t get used often, and are small enough to perch on one of those vinylized wire risers.

  40. posted by adora on

    I got those IKEA mugs as well! I have 6 of them, taking up only 2 mugs’ worth of footage. I also got IKEA 365+ drinking glasses. They’re in similar shape and also stackable.
    I recommend buying IKEA than other brands because they don’t change the design of these staple items for decades. When you break your a mug, you can easily buy the replacements that is stackable with your existing collection without having to replace the entire set.

  41. posted by Kathryn Fenner on

    Well, I purged all the mismatched mugs–gave them away, and we have four oversized black ceramic plain cylindrical mugs that my husband loves, many handmade pottery ones, including three I’ve had for almost 30 years, that I use and a set of four white Arzberg Tric smaller white porcelain mugs with saucers for when company comes–my husband brought them back from Germany, and they go with my china, which is also Arzberg white. I have four mugs I only use for tea, as well, in case the others had residual coffee flavor. We run our dishwasher only when it’s full–more energy efficient than hand washing,and that’s not every day, so we need more than two mugs–but I could probably stand to prune back–except that I have room for these comfortably in my cupboard.

  42. posted by Amelia on

    My husband and I have his and her mugs which don’t live in the cupboard since we use them one to two times a day. The main cupboard where everything is kept I have one row of three mugs for when people are over. The remaining mugs are in the cupboard above the fridge.

    I use this same style for all dishes, silverware, cups, etc. Our silverware container easily holds eight sets of silverware so the remaining four sets are stored away in the mug cupboard (only used a few times because we do not have a lot of people over). Likewise I have one stack of large plates, small plates, rice bowls, cereal bowls in the cupboard. All other dishes that do not fit live in the same cupboard as our large serving dishes.

    I know it is just my husband and I so having so few dishes available might seem silly to a large family. However, we have always done it this way and it keeps our kitchen very clean.

  43. posted by infmom on

    I used to have a rack on the wall where I displayed some really unusual “mug memorabilia.” I had some vintage mugs and some with interesting logos. But as you noticed, they all collected dust, and I had to take them down and wash them on a regular basis. Why keep washing mugs you’re not actually drinking out of?

    We were really on Mug Overload for a while. I don’t know how we managed to collect so many over the years, but I am not exaggerating when I say that my husband took more than 30 mugs to a local charitable organization to be used in their meeting-room kitchen. And we still had plenty left over after that.

    We have a triangular cabinet in the corner of our breakfast nook, and that’s where I keep mugs, travel cups and glassware, because our kitchen cabinets (vintage 1930) are just too small to hold everything. I got some large cup hooks and screwed them into the wall of the lower part of that cabinet and I now have 12 mugs hanging from the hooks, and that’s it (the rest were either packed away if they had any sentimental or monetary value at all, or donated to the Salvation Army). That’s enough for my husband and me to have some variety, and entertain tea and coffee drinkers now and again. And being inside the cabinet keeps them out of the way and clean.

  44. posted by Mrs.Mack on

    The right number is one for me, one for my husband, and two extra so on the occasions another couple comes to visit I can serve them tea.

    But of course I have way more than that. Mental count says… eight? No, nine. Oops!

    Isn’t it strange that mugs reproduce so quickly? Why mugs of all dishes? Wish I had that problem with silverware. I always seem to be running out of spoons. lol

  45. posted by finallygettingtoeven.xom on

    Having a mug tree would make me crazy, in the cabinet they go. We have about 8 and i keep them on a shelf upside down stacked 2 high. They aren’t really stack able and sit at a cock-eyed angle but they are held tightly in the space as it is a small shelf in a small cabinet.

  46. posted by djk on

    we both drink a lot of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, eat soup, lots of liquids over here now that I think about it. And both of us love variety–these bone china cups and saucers for delicate teas, these heavy handmade ones for robust teas, these espresso cups when we have espresso, these for coffee, these for lattes, these for whatever. So I will not count, because it is too scary a number. One big fat rule: nothing with advertising (ewwwww) and anything handmade has top priority. I am in love with the work of talented artisans, and I don’t consider my mugs clutter. However, naturally I have to rotate the ones in use. Extra mugs are in bubble wrap and go in a shoebox under the bed. Which is awfully close to the cupboard, since the place is teeny. I cheerfully get rid of other things but for us our mugs are both absolutely beautiful and absolutely useful!
    (of course, if we weren’t several-times-a-day consumers of hot liquids, so many would be clutter indeed)

  47. posted by zac on

    I recently donated a set of mugs to our office kitchen. I have a beautiful set of illy mugs that I use everyday at home, but I have also been holding on to an old, but otherwise nice, set of black deco mugs. I was torn between keeping this extra set and reducing clutter. I opted to weed out the chipped mish-mash mugs from my office cabinet and replace them with my own. This way I sort of get to keep them at my home away from home, reduce office kitchen clutter and get them out of my house. win win.

  48. posted by Claycat on

    I love mugs! I especially love handmade mugs, because you are supporting artisans. My suggestion is to have just a few handmade mugs. It turns coffee or tea time into a ceremony and an art experience. Most of the other stuff is boring and mundane.

    I am a clay artist, though I’m not practicing now. I highly recommend handmade mugs!

  49. posted by Gypsie on

    I have a set of 8 mugs that match my dinnerware and I could easily part with them except for the fact that they are perfect for making a couple packets of instant oatmeal in or for a cup of soup. I mainly use this set of mugs for eating out of.

    I also have a handful of mismatched mugs that I use for coffee, tea and hot chocolate. These are the mugs that have “stories”.

  50. posted by Amy on

    So funny this subject just came up!! We have our favorite mugs, so I had purged our mugs down to a decent amount: one for each of us, 4 china cups and saucers for tea (I drink coffee from a coffee cup, tea from a tea cup!) and enough for if our families came over (so…maybe 10 more) I stored the extras in the basement with the entertaining paraphernalia so they weren’t taking up space… and then since we never entertain anyway…I chucked them! Then our favorite mugs got chipped. But it was on the “other” side from where we drink, so we kept them (like that old ratty shirt you can’t throw away)…I think they finally got chipped to the point that we HAD to find new mugs we loved. I’m fussy about my coffee – and my mug. It has to fit “just so” in my hand. Anyway, so we went out and got some stupid mugs… and not two weeks later we got a box from my brother that has a bunch of “perfect” mugs in them…and now I’m over run with perfectly good mugs that I just love! Dammit. lol. No solutions here – just ranting. πŸ™‚

  51. posted by Jeri Dansky on

    I’ve got six mugs used for coffee and tea – all of them different, not a set – and five used to store other things around the house: pens, toothbrushes, etc.

    And I’ve got one I just pulled from the cupboard to go offer up on Freecycle. I’ve got room to store it, but I just don’t love it any more. I’d always pick one of the other six over this seventh one.

    I wrote a blog post about stackable items, including mugs, about a month ago; I found the World Market ones, but missed the ones from Heath. (They may not be for everyone, but no one answer is!) I also listed a few not yet mentioned here; if you want to see them, go to

  52. posted by Larissa Cookson on

    I recently went through my cabinet and got rid of about 10 old mugs. Majority of them where gifts and souvenir items and it was definitely time to let them go. I now have a set of 4 matching mugs and 2 jumbo-sized ones. I love the stack-able mug idea though and wish I had seen those before I bought mine.

  53. posted by Gayle on

    My household is only me and my 4 yr old. I have 6 mugs. Why six? I end up running the dishwasher once every 5-6 days (remember, there are only 2 people in my house!!!). I have 1 clean mug every day between dishwashings, with maybe 1 to spare. I never buy mugs as souvenirs, and I don’t buy or collect them. If one is given to me, I take it to work and it becomes a pencil can of sorts.

  54. posted by Mara on

    I searched for months before finding eight white stacking cups for a dollar each at Old Time Pottery. They are also available at

    They have the annoyingly small finger hole, but they stack and are on hand during the few times we have gatherings. I got rid of all the mugs that took up too much space or couldn’t be stacked. Dropped them off at a local florist’s shop so they could be used as little planters and in exchange got a nice bunch of fresh flowers!

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  56. posted by Vi on

    I have about 3 shelves of mugs. One is christmas/winter mugs, another are the smaller mugs which came with my new dishes and the then there are the everyday mugs which actually take a shelve and a 1/8th of a shelf. Fortunately we have lots of cabinet space. Yet it does seem silly to have as many mugs as we do. A few broke and were tossed over the last year and I would toss out a bunch more yet it would be noticed, so I will wait for a few more to become trash worthy and also not buy any more, though most were gifts except for the dozen that came with the 12 piece dish set. I will have to look out for the stackable ones next time I need some. Love my coffee, tea and cocoa.

  57. posted by Vi on

    I forgot, soup is good in a mug too.

  58. posted by christine on

    There are just the two of us, and our house is small (840square ft.), so we keep a setting of four dishes upstairs, and just two mugs. All the rest of the dishes and a large collection of mugs are in lidded plastic bins easily accessible in the basement. We still have them, if we need them for guests or a party, but not having them around keeps us from ending up with stacks of unwashed dishes. Now everything fits neatly in the limited cupboard space.

  59. posted by Marcie Lovett on

    So many people I talk to have trouble getting rid of coffee mugs. Like so many other things Erin has written about, it’s important to remember that they’re just things; you’ll still remember the vacation or party or achievement without the mug. I have 8 mugs that came with my set of dishes and three that don’t match but that I find beautiful. This is the perfect number for my household because I wait until the dishwasher is quite full before it runs.

    When promotional mugs make their way into my house, they go directly into the donation bag. Any thrift store will gladly take your castoffs.

  60. posted by Rob O. on

    When we moved recently, my wife & I culled out a truckload of miss-matched odd cups & mugs and kept only a set of 6 Ikea stacking cups and a couple of sets that we’d received as wedding gifts. (Yup, we still have cups that were gifts nearly 14 years ago that we use fairly often!)

    We also have a couple of Starbucks insulated travel cups that we use almost every morning and just wash them out when we get back home.

  61. posted by chs on

    In addition to the usual Goodwill-type donation spots, soup kitchens and homeless shelters are often happy to use your donated mugs or cups. For the person who hates throwing things away, I would say donating them is a better use than breaking a perfectly functional item to use for drainage in a plant pot. Someone else could use the mug, and you could put gravel or rocks in your plant pot.

  62. posted by Amy on

    My Grandmother left around 30-40 tea cups to me (all different patterns) when she passed a few years ago. Some are good quality china, some are cheaper, but no two cups are the same. I now have them all lined up on shelving as “use-able art” and am adding to the collection as I see fit. Anytime I want a cup of coffee or tea for myself or to share, I pick anything I want! I don’t consider the tea cups clutter, they are art!

  63. posted by Alexander on

    We cleaned out our mugs just recently, how topical πŸ™‚

    Our collections of mugs were divided into three piles:
    – keepers, which we ended up with a unique cup for each of us, plus two for guests
    – tossers, chipped or stained beyond use. We threw these away.
    – others: good cups that we didn’t need, which we donated to the workplace. That’s one less disposable cup.

    Now we have a rule to get individual cups with character and stories behind them. This way we can replace broken cups one at a time, and they become part of the conversation.

  64. posted by Rosa on

    I have four keepsake mugs – my grandmothers coffee mug (yes, she only had one of her own, all the years I knew her) – that one is actually on display, so it’s not used. Then there’s a fancy inlaid teacup I got in Japan; a nicely-shaped mug that my mom gave me; and a chipped, dumb-logoed one from my cubemate at my first longtime job.

    I actually use the chipped one the most.

    We have lots of people over for dinner & coffee at least 4 times a year; but for that, I use the coffee cups that are part of my good china.

  65. posted by Melanie A. on

    Okay, you inspired me to get up and count πŸ™‚

    Eight mugs for two people, and we really only use six of these. The other two are duplicates of two in active rotation–they were gifts from my dad, who used flattering images of me and Mr. Me on four photo mugs. Great pix–but why four of them?!

    Before I figure that out I might figure out how to attach sleeves or sheaths on the existing mugs to make them stackable. Maybe a Java Jacket or the like would work.

  66. posted by WilliamB on

    I have the same problem with large plastic cups (the sort with lids and straws, such as one gets at a ballpark) as with mugs: they accumulate!

    I find two mugs per household member to be the right number for me. This is enough both personal use and guests. I find one large plastic cup per person works well.

    When the cup & mug shelf gets crowded, I winnow. Sometimes this means storing souvenir cups (opening day is a favorite around here), more often it means donating them.

  67. posted by Tonya on

    We have 10 mugs. 2 adults drink coffee everyday, then tea later. 1 kiddo sometimes has hot cocoa or tea. They all fit on one shelf in the kitchen, they are all handmade.

    That I think makes a huge difference. Handmade by local artists. We know who made them; use them everyday, wash them every night.

    No imports. No shoddy chipped mugs. No tacky phrases.
    Simple and useful. Lovely and meaningful.

    Always trying to find the simple and serene.

  68. posted by Melissa on

    I brew coffee in the regretable seventies style “wetbar” in my livingroom. This keeps coffee near the coffee table where I usually drink it. Our kitchen is way too small to host the coffee maker, and it makes the bar into useful space! So I keep the mugs in the cabinet below the wet bar, where a small shelf very near the top of the cabinet is exactly as tall as a coffee mug!

  69. posted by Sasha on

    I don’t own very many mugs. In fact, recently I had to force myself to buy more.

  70. posted by AlexMMR on

    As a potter, I’ve got more mugs than a person can count and they don’t sell fast enough to keep them from completely taking over the house.

    If anyone knows where I can donate handmade mugs, I’d sure appreciate the info!

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