With all four of us living and working at home these days, we drink a lot of coffee – as well as tea, hot chocolate, and even plain hot water. This means we go through A LOT of mugs in a day.
And while our kitchen isn’t large, we dedicated an entire narrow cabinet near the stove to organize our mugs and coffee/tea-related items. It’s one of the most frequently used zones in our kitchen and one that needs to function well.
However, every morning I would shuffle to the kitchen, more asleep than awake, to grab a cup of coffee. Instead of a nice organized cabinet, I was greeted with a sad collection of mugs.
This is not how I want to start my day.
I have a lot to do. I can’t have the first thing I see every morning be an unorganized, mismatched set of coffee mugs and cups. This cupboard should fill my cup (literally and figuratively) with order, certainty, and energy.
I want guests to feel welcomed in my home, to be able to serve them a cup of tea as we chat in the kitchen.
Which means this cabinet needed a bit of attention. The good news is it took less than an hour to take this space from blah to bling. Here are 5 takeaways from my caffeine-fueled reorganization:
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The mug cabinet is the junk drawer of cabinets
We all keep too many mugs. I’m 100% guilty of this even though I’ve minimized my mug collection many times. For some reason, they are weirdly sentimental and hard to get rid of.
Some mugs have a story or a memory attached to them. Others have a special shape or size that we prefer and reach for day after day. While others we may keep because they are useful, and well, what if we need them someday?
The result is a cabinet full of mismatched mugs that can make you feel disorganized and unsettled.
For me, it felt like time to let some go. I kept our favorite mugs, but weeded out the cups that were faded, old, or just not special anymore.
In fact, I actually brought in some new mugs. This brings me to my next tip…
Matching, stacking mugs are best for maximizing storage
Sometimes organizing means adding, not just subtracting. Even though I had quite a few mugs, I didn’t feel like I had a nice set to serve a crowd.
I added a set of 16 simple white porcelain mugs from Cost Plus World Market. The matching set stacks nicely and allows me to completely fill the middle shelf with mugs.
Was this necessary? Probably not. But it makes me so darn happy to open up this cabinet and stare at a shelf full of white mugs. I feel like I’m in a fancy coffee shop and can’t wait to serve friends and family with this matching set.
Shelf risers give you more storage space
Squint your eyes and look at your cabinet. Do you see empty space that isn’t being used?
That space is gold and is just asking to be maximized. You can add additional shelf boards or organizers to help recapture this space.
I used a clear acrylic shelf riser from The Container Store and it fit perfectly in this cabinet. Mugs easily fit on top and below, doubling the storage space available.
Pro tip: You can still keep your favorite mismatched mugs. I did! I just put those in the back and put my matching mugs in the front to give the unified appearance of only matching mugs.
Use hard to reach shelves appropriately
While my super tall husband can easily reach the top shelf in our cabinets, it’s a bit of a stretch for me without a step stool. But I’m not about to let a good shelf go to waste, not in this small house!
Top shelves are great for items that are seldomly used and easy to grab while standing on your tiptoes. Like a coffee grinder! We only grind coffee once a week, so it felt like a good candidate for the top shelf.
I filled the rest of the top shelf with a set of stacking tea canisters and a napkin holder filled with coffee filters. These utilize the hard to reach vertical space but are still easy enough to grab.
Decant coffee and tea supplies for easier storage
I’ve found tea boxes don’t stack very well and often get lost in my cupboards. You can upgrade your tea storage by decanting it into smaller containers. These clear acrylic containers from Target are airtight and make it easy to know at a glance when it’s time to restock.
Placing coffee filters in a napkin holder makes them easy to grab when you are brewing that early morning pot while half asleep.
As always, labels keep the chaos away, so make sure to add a few to your canisters.
One last before and after:
It’s 100% worth it to invest a little time in organizing your mugs, especially if it’s a cabinet that you use every day or even multiple times per day. Maximizing mug storage, decanting, and using matching coffee cups help create a beautiful, functional space that greets you every morning with a smile.