What do you do, when you want to buy yourself a new coffee mug, but you've already got lots of mugs and being an environmentally concerned sort you feel reeeeally bad about just throwing old mugs into the bin just because you want a new one?
Is your house full of mugs due to 'mug guilt'. I know mine is, and there are only so many mugs I can allocate to the 'this is for if a builder wants a cup of tea', box, while realising you haven't had a builder around the house for years and aren't planning to any time soon.
The obvious solution to this ethical and environmental dilemma is to use one of the three R's of environmental protection and sustainable living, which are; Recycle, Reuse, Reduce.
So in this case I'm talking about 'reuseing' your old mugs rather than just throwing them away or putting them into a cupboard never to be seen again and taking up valuable space at the same time.
How To Re Purpose Your Old Mugs
1. From coffee mug to bird feeder.
Turn your coffee mug into a bird feeder with no more difficulty than attaching a caribiner to the handle and filling it with either homemade (more fun I say!) or shop bought bird suet.
It would actually be a fun project to complete with children and you could get rid of a few mugs from your household entirely like this .... for instance, perhaps next time you're babysitting for someone, you could smuggle them back to their parents home with their own DIY bird feeders in hand. *Sly face*
There is a fantastic tutorial for this super simple diy upcycled mug bird feeder over at Sadie Seasongoods really useful and inspiring upcycling blog.
2. That herb garden you always wanted.
If you have a kitchen window ledge handy, why not cultivate that small herb garden you always wanted, or never knew you wanted.
It's as easy as piling some compost into some mugs you no longer want to drink beverages out of and throwing in some seeds. I'm quite the gardener and have grown herbs and veg for years, my recommendation for the best herbs to use in your window ledge herb garden are;
Coriander - amazing in a Thai curry and in salads.
Basil - Fresh basil will elevate your home made pizzas to legend status.
Mint - Mojitos! ... or mint tea.
Rosemary - Fab on roast potatoes.
3. Candle It
Everyone loves candles. They're useful, they're ornamental, they're romantic and it's quite fun to have a go at making your own if you enjoy craft projects.
This is one project that can also find it's way into other people's homes in the same way the bird feeder mugs can ... via their children's candle in a mug craft project in your home, or they can also depart your home in the way of a thank you gift.
4. Art is subjective
If you just keep finding yourself acquiring more and more coffee mugs, it's clear that you actually really love coffee mugs and perhaps rather than throw them away, you can consider developing somewhat of an art installation out of your many lovely pieces.
I'd never have thought it possible to look good but if you view some of the examples in 16 Ways To Transform Mugs Into Decor, you'll see that you can create a lovely 'mug wall art' piece that takes up zero floor or cupboard space in your room.
You don't have to say goodbye to that old favourite mug if you don't want to - become an 'art' collector instead.
5. Improve Your Patio
It can be expensive to revamp your garden area for the sort of stylish outdoor living you see on makeover tv shows, but not if you think creatively and use what you have.
Turn some plain and boring patio planters into a wonderful colourful mosaic piece using smashed pieces of your old mugs. No need to stop at planters only, you can mosaic a piece of the patio floor as a central feature, you could mosaic stepping stones, you could create a mosaic table ... or you could make yourself a mosaic mirror; for use in the garden or indoors.
6. When You Have Serious Issues With Your Mug Collection
When it's become less of a mug collection, and more of an addiction, you can always veneer your house with 25,000 coffee mugs like this barmy North Carolina home owner.
I like the way visitors are allowed to 'leave a mug' there if you can find a nail ... as if they don't already have a 'mug issue' as it is.
Perhaps you could book a flight and offload your mugs there?
7. Stationery holder
No, I'm not just talking about throwing some pens into them and putting them on your desk, I agree that this would definitely be a bit lame.
There is a simple yet stylish way to create wall mounted organiser pots using your old mugs. Kim Six Fix blog shows us how to make it look quirky and cool and can shift at least 3 mugs out of your cupboard. The more desk clutter you have, the more mugs you can shift.
It could work above any workspace, and would be great in a child's room for their crayons, pencils, chalk.
8. A Coffee Mug Cake Stand
With this idea you get rid of some old mugs AND some old plates at the same time. If you can make it look stylish enough like the below example of a minimalistic coffee mug cake stand below you could even gift it to someone along with a cake recipe book.
The important thing here ... is that you do have to drill into the cups and bolt them together, you can't just stack them up and expect them not to come toppling down during your soiree.
I like the way with this idea, that you can place flowers at the top. It could also be topped off with lollypops.