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Declutter Coffee Mugs & Other Cups {15 Minute Mission}

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Today's mission is to declutter coffee mugs, and other cups and glasses.

Kitchen Cabinet Organization Challenge
This mission is designed to be done while working on the Kitchen Cabinet & Drawer Organization Challenge here on the site, which is part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge.

For many of us this is a type of item we have way too many of in our cupboards or cabinets, and we could free up a lot of space by getting rid of some of them.

My Formula To Help You Decide How Many Mugs To Keep

It is up to you to determine what is a reasonable number based on your family's needs and habits, but here's a simple formula to help you at least think about it.

Consider the number of people in your household who actually use a mug regularly, and then multiply this by the number of mugs they use in a day, and then multiply that by one plus the number of days between running your dishwasher, or otherwise washing dishes. That number you come up with is the base number of mugs you actually need in your home for regular use (plus see below where we add just a few extras for when you entertain or have guests over).

How to #declutter coffee mugs, including a formula to figure out how many mugs you actually need versus which are extra {a #Declutter365 mission on Home Storage Solutions 101} #Declutteringuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest
That may sound complicated, but I'll run through a couple of examples which will help you understand how simple it is.

Example 1: If two people in your home regularly drink coffee or tea each morning, and you both only use one mug per day, and you run your dishwasher daily, then you need 2x1x2 mugs, meaning, four mugs. It works out that you need two mugs to drink from, and two in the dishwasher, and you're set.

Example 2: Two people in your house drink tea regularly, and both of you drink two cups a day in a fresh mug each time, and you run your dishwasher every two days. Then you should multiply 2x2x3 and you need 12 mugs.

Of course in the scenario of 12 mugs if you don't have enough room in your cabinets for that many you could change your habit of drinking from a new mug each time, and instead drink from one mug all day long, which would halve the number of mugs you need to keep regularly.

Next, once you've determined how many mugs you need to use regularly for household members, add a few more in for when you entertain guests and then you've got a reasonable number of mugs to actually keep.

What About Mug Collections?

I understand that for some people mugs are not just a practical thing used as a receptacle to drink hot beverages, but instead, you collect them.

But it is important when doing this mission to understand there is a difference between collections and practical used items.

Now, I'm not saying
you can't keep your mug collection. Everyone has things that bring them joy and the purpose of decluttering is not to make you unhappy. But you first need to really evaluate whether that collection makes you happy, or not.

I encourage you to narrow your collection down to the best of the best, so you continue to have a collection that brings you joy and fond memories, but that doesn't add headaches to your life because it is so large it is cluttering up your kitchen cabinets.

If you collect mugs, and you have space to store all of them, they make you happy, and you use them all regularly (or for holiday mugs, at least annually when that holiday comes around), don't declutter them. For you those mugs are not clutter. But be careful that all of your mugs in your collection that you keep meet the three criteria I mentioned.

Get more ideas for how to declutter collections and collectibles here.

How to declutter collections and collectibles

Things To Consider About Your Mugs When Deciding Which To Keep

Here are some things to consider when doing this mission:
  • Get rid of those which are chipped, broken or stained

  • How much room do you really have in your cabinets to devote to mugs?

  • Which ones do you regularly use, versus which ones have you not even touched in 3+ months? We all have our favorite mugs that we always reach for if they're clean. Those are the ones to keep, for sure!

Consider Repurposing Some Of Your Mugs To Get Them Out Of Your Kitchen

Finally, if you realize you don't use all of your mugs but you really don't want to part with some of them in your collection I encourage you to get creative.

I personally believe that a collection needs to be displayed and it should make you smile each time you pass it. If a collection is shoved in a box, or in the case of mugs, into the back of a kitchen cabinet, what is the point of having it?

If you have more mugs that you absolutely love, and do not want to part with, but that number exceeds the number you can regularly use that we figured out above using the formula, then get them out of those kitchen cabinets and elsewhere in your home so you can see them and they can make you happy.

Just a few ways to repurpose mugs include as a pencil cup or a small planter. I'm sure there are a lot of additional ideas as well, so make sure to tell me your ideas for repurposing mugs below, in the comments.

Below are some pictures from readers who've already taken on this mission, sharing what they decluttered. I hope this can inspire you to declutter yours as well!

Top photo courtesy of Ewen Roberts and before and after photos from a reader, Brandy

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Now I Have Less Mugs & Maximized My Storage With An Extender Shelf

Michelle says:

I just decluttered mine when we recently moved and parted with a bunch of mugs. I gave them to Goodwill.

My cupboard for mugs is much smaller now, but I maximize the storage by using racks on each shelf. I can easily store 2 layers of mugs in my small space, without worrying about the mugs slipping from atop the row below.

I have a mix of Christmas cups in there now, but it looks like this.

Taylor says:

I love this idea of the extender shelf to keep more mugs in your cabinet, without having to stack them on top of each other, or to use a smaller amount of space for them.

Because even when you declutter them, the ones you keep can still take up quite a bit of room.

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Here's The Coffee Cups I Decluttered

The photo above is from a reader Barbara, who already taken this mission.

Barbara says, "All cups going to thrift shop. I kept 6 additional cups that now have a great spot in me cupboard."

In addition, here's a photo submitted by Brandy, who also to get rid of some her mugs.

Coffee cups and mugs that Brandy decluttered as part of the #Declutter365 missions on Home Storage Solutions 101

Have you done this mission? If so, please share your photos here and I'll add them to the page.

Want To Do More Decluttering Missions? Get Started With Declutter 365 Today!

Declutter 365 missions: 15 minute missions for your entire home

Once you declutter one type of item in your home I bet you'll want to declutter some more. After all, decluttering gives you a great reward for even a small investment of time and energy.

The Declutter 365 system is designed to help you declutter, over the course of a year, your entire house, with just 15 minutes of decluttering each day!

Hundreds of thousands of people use this proven system to get rid of their clutter, and bring peace and calm back to their homes.

Declutter 365 works to guide you to clear the clutter without overwhelm, focusing on just one small area at a time, and without making a huge mess in the process, so you see consistent forward progress without all that "messy middle" that makes it even harder to function in your home than before you started.

In addition to building a daily decluttering habit, the Declutter 365 program, along with the accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, teaches you the skills, habits, routines, and mindsets necessary to maintain the clutter free and organized state of your home from now on, so it'll never be as messy and cluttered as it is right now, ever again.

If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission. Then, repeat again tomorrow, and again and again. Over the course of the next year, if you do this 15 minutes per day, you'll declutter your whole house!

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Get This Kitchen Decluttering Checklist + 32 Other Decluttering Checklists For Your Home

Right now you're decluttering your kitchen, and there's a lot of stuff to declutter in this space.

Get your 2 page kitchen decluttering checklist, plus 32 other decluttering checklists, to help you declutter your entire home here.

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I've done the hard work of breaking down these tasks into smaller more manageable steps for you, so you don't get overwhelmed or worry you're forgetting a task, and you can go at the pace you want, whether that's fast or slow.

In addition, you can tackle these decluttering tasks in whatever order you want when you use these checklists!

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How to declutter coffee mugs and cups {one of the #Declutter365 missions on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Box of decluttered mugs courtesy of a reader, Kim

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Related Pages You May Enjoy

Getting Clutter Free 15 Minutes At A Time Hall Of Fame

Kitchen Cabinet Organization Challenge

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Comments for Here's The Coffee Cups I Decluttered

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let each person choose their favorite that you don't declutter
by: Betsylan

When I decluttered our coffee mugs I let each person choose their favorites. We made the kids pick no more than 3 to keep, however I think each of them may have taken one each to grandma's house, but it's not in my cabinet now.

Gift mugs
by: Anonymous

My issue with mugs has always been that so many of them were gifts and I hate giving away gifts. I finally had to come to terms with that and give away a few which I either did not really care for or I thought it unlikely the giver would ever be having coffee at my house! 😊

things given to you - hard to give away
by: Anonymous

It is a wonder how we collect more cups and glasses. Then give them to charity and they have so many but very few that are the same. I hate to give things away that some one has given me; even if it is a cup or glass. How do feel good about getting rid of things people have given us? I have cups and saucers that was giving to me over 30 years ago. They asked me not to give them away when they gave them to me.

by: Anonymous

I installed cup hooks under two of my shelves. I can store the coffee cups from my china set as well as 1 additional set of mugs. I still have a few mugs that sit on the shelves but I have reduced the number considerably.

Double Decker Lazy Susan
by: Deana

I recently added a double level lazy susan, from Amazon, into my coffee mug cabinet. Love it. Holds a perfect amount and easy to spin around for my mug of choice for the day. Mostly Disney. Instead of the same ones getting used over and over.

Mugs x people x dishwasher - my formula for how many to keep
by: Dennis

I have cut down the number of mugs according to how often the dishwasher is run! People using mugs, 2. Dishwasher runs about every 3 days. Soooo, 2x3 = 6 mugs. Maybe 2 more as backups. Or I could just wash the same 2 mugs everyday.

Cups are the hardest! Who would have thought!
by: Vi

I cannot tell you how I have struggled with this one! It seems I have bought a coffee cup at various occasions. Like when we went to Cirque de Sole (forgive my spellings), in Vegas, I bought the neatest Elvis cup I can't seem to part with. And then there are the gifts! Lou gave me a cup from the new firm he joined! Actually I think this one is another problem. I can't seem to discard anything he gave me, and that is even more profound since he died 5 years ago.

I did take two boxes of cups to the good will, but I kept all the "Special" ones, 8 to be exact. Not counting the 8 that came with my dishes. The funny thing about this is I don't drink coffee anymore! I drink herbal tea, which I drink out of the 6 porcelain cup I got from Japan.

I think I am hopeless when it comes to cups!

Ah - the mugs!
by: Heather

In my tender youth mugs were starting to be a "thing". There was a restaurant called Muggs and mugs were displayed everywhere. Mugs were given to me by work colleagues in Secret Santa exchanges and by friends. I bought them as souvenirs. Until recently I had 10 mug trees, two mug racks and an accordion hat rack full of mugs. I'm down one rack, three mug trees (for now) and still ridding myself of mugs. I swear someone snuck mugs into my place. I don't remember some of them.

Me, too!
by: Marty McGrath

This has been SO much fun to read! Am also a mug hoarder, working on getting rid of one or more, gifting to relatives. The mugs at the thrift store just seem SO lonely!

Keep the memories and gain the space.
by: Anonymous

For mugs bought on trips - take photos of them and add to your vacation photo book. Photograph 3 or more mugs in a line with a plain background. Print a 8x10 and add your favorite morning poem or coffee quote. Keep the memories and gain the space.

Storing Cups and Glasses
by: Anonymous

I'm just curious how many people put their cups/glasses upside down or right side up?

We were just having this argument in my house.

Why we turn our cups upside down.
by: Martha Lane

The reason people turn their cups upside down, according to an article I read, is this:

There were days long ago when cabinets did not have doors, just shelves. The glassed were turned upside down to keep the dust out. Today we do not have that problem. I do not turn my cups upside down because the rims are touching the bottom of the cabinet and because I stack cups inside of each other. It seems to me the bottom of the cabinet would need to be cleaned each time I put the cups away. Hence, I sit them in the upright position.

Collector vs. minimalist
by: Anonymous

DH has DOZENS of mugs in his collection. I put up 16 cup hooks: 8 for him and 8 for me. I only use 4, including our two soup mugs, and he uses his 8. The rest are stored away, making us both happy.

10 left!
by: Rose

We just cleared out 10 mugs. 1 for each person and special mugs were the only ones that made the cut. We are down to 10 mugs in the house.

Mug uses - repurposing
by: Barbara Mock

I recently put a tall decorative bottle of olive oil and different vinegars in mugs I didn't want to get rid of yet. That keeps the bottles from tipping over and the handle makes retrieving from the cupboard easier.

I keep one in the bathroom for drinking water with medicines. It is much easier to handle with my arthritis than a tumbler. Still need to declutter, but at least I've repurposed some of them.

Mom's mugs
by: Cindy

I've been reading all the posts and think I'm ready to declutter. I have my favorites and yes, those thrift store mugs need a home. But, I can scale down to the formula. I'll start today, one by one! Happy to know I'm not the only mug hoarder!

Great idea
by: Anonymous

I really like the idea of lining mugs up for a photo. I don't collect them, but have seen some while traveling and didn't buy because we're downsizing. Great way to still have a memory of them.

pics etc.
by: Fred

The idea about taking pictures of some special mugs and framing it is fabulous. I have collected mugs forever and still do.

I have taken mugs and fill them with flavored teas and hot chocolate excetera for gifts. In my quest for decluttering I have given I'm special ones two people who would also think the mug special.

by: Jen

I have a lot of mugs too. Including Christmas mugs. Well I pack away the Christmas mugs along with half of the regular mugs, let's say 6 others. Well the other 6 I use all year. Christmas time I use the Christmas mugs and pack away the ones I used all year. After Christmas I pack away the Christmas mugs and take out the 6 I haven't seen in a year. I rotate them!

Being picky helps.
by: Tammy

When I was younger my mom had a lot of decorative cups. I had just started using the microwave. One day when my mom was not home I went to put a cup of noodles in one of her decorative cups. Well the cup was pretty and golden lettering (and I'm sure you can see where this is going). When I turned the microwave on it was turning on the turntable then flash and fire and scary stuff. I remember that like it happened yesterday. (That was about 22 years ago.) Now I am a mom of two happily married and when we buy mugs, no matter how pretty they MUST say "Microwave/Dishwasher safe". It wittles down my collection because I don't buy them as often. Going through old mugs that my husband was given from his mom I found many that didn't fit and they were given back to her. It helps to be picky because we have less now in our cabinets that take up space.

donate to group for homeless people
by: Susan

Some of your mug toss outs are really nice!!! I take my donations to an organization that helps homeless people get housed. They give every client a housewarming basket.

Mug Uses
by: Tracey

I use mugs in my bathroom to hold some of my lipsticks upright; in my sewing room to hold markers, rulers, etc.; to hold pens, pencils, and reading glasses, and other items all over the house.

by: Connie

I have been through the mug declutter exercise last year. Mine was easy as I use the same mug every day but the hubby collects mugs and glasses. I sent him this exercise. I certainly agree that they should be out and used instead of away in a cabinet unseen. I did keep all the special mugs that people have given me over the years.

Gave away
by: Elizabeth

I decluttered mugs galore when I moved. Got rid of all the ones from various companies, PBS (though I still support them) all donated. Kept just a few of everyday ones and ones I can take into the yard when working. Gave them to anybody who wanted one. Now am decluttering car coffee mugs, tons of those, metal, plastic (the worst is orange, my least favorite color), the ones that don't fit in the car cup holders,etc. Also a thermos that leaks and one that doesn't stay warm long. The most difficult one to get rid of was a cheap one labeled Grandpa that my Father used daily and used the last time I saw him. Cracked and chipped. Finally after 10 years it's gone. I have better memories of my Father than from a cracked and chipped cup.

by: Anonymous

When you can count something, like mugs, it's fewer. If you can't count it, like coffee in your cup, it's less. You have fewer mugs because you drink less coffee.

Awesome Tips
by: Anonymous

Reading this I had a lightbulb moment and am going to tackle my mug collection right now!

Donating extra mugs
by: Carol

Homeless shelters, such as the Shepherds of Good Hope, are often looking for mugs for their clients.

Mug Decluttering
by: Anonymous

I have two of the expanding coat peg racks that I have my mug collection hanging on in my dining room. There used to be so many that they would sometimes fall when I tried to get one off! Over the last year I have decluttered them twice, mostly getting rid of ones that I had bought over the years as souvenirs of places I visited. I now have decluttered about 50 of the original collection so have a lot more room to spread them out. I donate them to a non-profit organization here in town that runs a thrift store. They come by once a month so I always look at what I have left to see if I can donate any more. My goal is to have the collection eventually down to one rack but I have a way to go. At least they are not taking up space in the kitchen. I also realized before my last donation that I had a small bin in my attic with my glasses from my grandmother with glass coasters (8 of each) that I have never used and went in my last donation. Another empty bin! Yay!

Mugs from dish sets
by: Anonymous

I have a formal set of dishes and an every day set. Each set has coffee mugs. Plus we have our few favorites. I am overrun by the ones from the sets and we NEVER use them. But they are part of a set. What do I do?? I would really like to, at least, get rid of the ones from the formal set. They are not microwaveable, and I never have guests other than family and friends who don't care how "formal" we are.

Old saying
by: Winnie Riggs

I wish I knew who said this: "No man with two mugs and two spoons need ever be lonely." I have frequently thought of putting a display on one of my tables with two cups with a spoon in each, with a cross stitch of that saying prominently displayed. I would need no other ornamentation.

by: Mary L

I recommend 1 per person. Add 6 more for company, stack those in a box and put out of sight. Use it, wash it, put it away. No cup clutter. Guaranteed to get people to keep track of their cup.

Sentimental mugs received as gifts???
by: Jo

What about the mugs over the years given by your kids for mother's day, father's day or birthdays.

Overcoming husband's objections?
by: Geri

I'm attempting to declutter the kitchen and the most difficult part so far is overcoming my husband's objections in getting rid of ANY of the coffee mugs we've accumulated. Even the one left from the set of bachelor dishes he had before we got together.

How do I accommodate his wishes and still make room in the cupboards?

Mugs a plenty
by: Marquita

I collect mugs. I have 1 for each holiday & get great satisfaction drinking all beverages in it!! I have received some I’m not crazy about, would you believe THEY Are the ones that don’t get chipped or broken!! Grr!! I have made them into pencil, pen, Highlighter mugs on my desk... additionally planted plant cuttings to give as gifts of thank you, and made candles w/ the wax pellets & wicks! Some I even put in my bathroom, bought neon aquarium pebbles and stood my makeup brushes handles into the gravel. They are ready to grab to do my makeup!! I can affectionately look down and see me mugs! Just periodically rinse the gravel in a sieve, let dry... wash cup and reunite!!

So there’s a few ideas for now...

Swap box
by: Shirley

I have a collection of Christmas/winter mugs. Around Dec. 1 the box comes up from storage and is emptied into the dishwasher. The regular mugs come out of the cupboard, into the box and go into storage for the winter. We enjoy our Christmas mugs for the season, without using valuable cupboard space.

Displaying mugs to keep
by: Anne

I'm going to try to share a picture of a way to display mugs you want to keep. My husband made this and if I get rid of the mugs he will probably be sad with empty hooks! If I get nicer mugs I do sometimes switch out old ones for mugs I like better. Mugs I use daily are kept on a lower shelf.

Mugs in the bathroom
by: Anonymous

I keep a mug in my bathroom to hold my toothbrush and toothpaste.

Take them to AA
by: Anonymous

I had way too many mugs, and it was an insane amount. I filled up a box with about 30 mugs. Most of them gifts, or free promotional mugs. I got tired of dealing with them all, and sorted it down to just the ones that get used on a regular basis, plus a few more in case company comes. This reduced me down to about a dozen mugs. Instead of bringing them to Goodwill, I dropped them off at my local community center where they hold regular AA meetings. We rented the hall for Christmas once, and the shared kitchen had a lot of chipped and well used mugs, that AA uses. They were very happy for the donation, and I know my old mugs are being used nightly, and for a good cause.

I want those mugs!
by: Miss Jenni

I just came to ask where you got those adorable mushroom looking mugs from!!! Red rims, gray and black designed spots in the box that is in the photo posted on Facebook.

don't have any mugs
by: Tammy

This has been one mission I didn't do. We have no mugs. I'm a little odd but I like things to match so I have service for 12 and it all is one pattern, it has everything we even had the forks, spoons, and knives. The silverware did not hold up. I now just use my silver that was sitting for years and didn't want it to just sit, I say use the stuff you have.

donate to firefighters
by: Firefighter

If you are decluttering your coffee mugs, instead of donating to an organization(Goodwill, etc), your local fire department would love to have those mugs. Being a firefighter myself I know we are always short on them. We don’t care if they are "I love Mom" mugs or pink, etc. We will put them to good use! We have to provide that stuff ourselves, so if we get donations we won’t turn them down!!

Picture It!
by: Linda

I have done this with many things I needed to get rid of, but were sentimental about: Take a picture of it (them), then put them into your computer pictures. I have my pictures randomly come up as a screen saver and am delighted to be reminded of so many memories! Or take a picture or pictures of the items, have them printed and hang wherever makes sense. Then you can take your items to your favorite thrift store without guilt!!!

Packing Coffee Cups
by: Davina

What is the best way to pack away seasonal coffee cups? I have a few and they are odd sizes and I just can't find a way to pack them up until next season. Any suggestions?

culling my coffee mugs
by: Marsha

I kept the mugs that go with my place settings. Since we entertain often I also kept the mugs my husband considers his favorites. I used some for my cactus plants as well. All in all we have decluttered over 100+ mugs. It is refreshing!

We have way too many mugs!
by: Kity

We have way too many mugs!

I have 6 mugs that I’ve had since high school. As a ‘papergirl’ I won a contest; sold 60 copies of Houston Chronicle special edition about moon landing. Mugs have pic of that front page. Oh, BTW, I beat out the boys, so also got a bicycle.

Only kept the favorites
by: Nicole

I have been reading this website for a while. I actually have a fairly organized kitchen so I was able to get through a bunch of kitchen declutter today. One that I have been putting off is my mugs. I have a difficult time taking apart a set. Well, not anymore! I decided to keep only my favourite mugs, not the sets, so I can use the ones I love. I kept a couple extra from the set for guests. I'm really happy with how much I managed to get rid of!!

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