Coffee mugs have a way of accumulating, especially since they make easy gifts, and we gravitate to them as functional souvenirs and personalized keepsakes. However they multiply, you’ve probably never had to say “I need to buy some new coffee mugs.” On the contrary, coffee mugs become one of the first items purged in an effort to spring clean or downsize, and something you’ll spot at nearly every yard sale.
Besides routinely downsizing your collection to what you actually need and use, there are other options to keep the sentimental ones useful and out of crowded cupboards. Consider these practical ideas the next time you have one too many mugs.
- Coffee Mug Planters
Most coffee mugs are made out of some type of ceramic, the perfect material for holding small plants. Herbs, small cacti, bamboo, and starter plants only need a little space, so using coffee mug ‘pots’ allows you to fit them anywhere — an outdoor garden, or on indoor windowsills and coffee tables. Mugs also make impromptu fresh-cut flower vases.
- Office and Bathroom Organizers
Who needs to buy pen cups or makeup brush caddies when you’ve got coffee mugs? They can hold a large variety of small kitchen, bathroom, or crafting items — keeping them visible, organized, and ready to grab.
Attractive or unique coffee mugs are a good alternative to votives for holding tea lights, and they can be easily filled with scented wax to create homemade candles. Other decor options for mugs are making them into scented oil diffusors, deodorizing bead cups, and vases for artificial flowers.
- The Kitchen: Utensils and Utensil Holders
Coffee mugs don’t have to travel far from the kitchen to find some of their best uses. The most obvious of these is their ability to hold and organize utensils, silverware, sweetener packets, straws, chopsticks — basically anything that stands up.
Not only do mugs hold utensils, they can function like them. Mugs are handy when you can’t find soup ladles, and make ideal bulk dry good or pet food scoops.
- Serving Dishes
You don’t need fancy ramekins to serve fancy, individual-sized desserts, puddings, and custards — coffee mugs are just the right size, and their handles make it easier to serve and consume delicate desserts.
On chilly days, large-mouthed mugs make it easier to cozy up on the couch with the ideal one-person soup or hot cereal bowl.
- Kitchen Cooking Aids
Coffee mugs can become invaluable pieces of cookware. Not only do they make it easier to poach an egg on the stove, they can help you cook great microwaved ones, as well. In fact, there are dozens of microwave coffee mug recipes for whipping up fast single-servings of many popular foods, including:
- French toast
- sweet breads and coffee cake (how fitting)
- mug cake
- macaroni and cheese
- …and even meatloaf!
One Mug, Many Titles
Limited cupboard space doesn’t mean you have to part with your favorite coffee mugs (although you should probably make some effort to stop collecting them). Pick one of these practical uses to get the most out of your sentimental sensibility, frugality, and small space lifestyle.
Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/Dave Heinzel.