How to Organize Coffee Mugs in a Cabinet
Little by little, I am working through the last few trouble spots around our house. Recently, I (finally!) organized the most-used cabinet in the kitchen: our coffee mug cabinet. Although this single cabinet is opened and closed most often, it had fallen into disarray thanks to too much stuff and no good systems. This cabinet was a quick and fun one to tidy up; so today I’m sharing how to organize coffee mugs in a cabinet using an easy process that can work anywhere!
This cabinet sits just to the right of the sink and directly above the dishwasher. When we first moved in, it became the most logical place for our most-used drinkware: coffee mugs and glasses. Items were placed in this cabinet when we first moved in, but it has never been fully addressed in the two years since.
Somehow over the last year or so, we’ve managed to break about 99% of our water glasses. And then when we recently added a whole slew of new coffee cups to our mug collection (thanks Cricut!), this cabinet became downright dysfunctional. When I had to start offering guests a drink…in a coffee mug…from this beautiful mess….I finally moved this cabinet to the top of my To Do List.
After exploring options, taking some measurements, de-cluttering and purging a good bit of our collection, arranging and then re-arranging some more, we now have a cabinet that looks amazing and works even better!
How to Organize Coffee Mugs In a Cabinet
To get this cabinet back in working order for our family, I generally followed my tried-and-true S-P-A-C-E process.
I first pulled down every last item in this cabinet and the one next to it. I placed items into general categories as I went (e.g., mugs, travel mugs, candles, coffee supplies, tea supplies, etc). I also (quickly) went through other cabinets and spots around the house to make sure we had all the mugs collected up.
Your Turn: Gather all your mugs (and I mean ALL of them) into one spot. It will be easier to purge and create a lasting storage solution that really works if you account for everything you have.
Next, Greg and I spent few minutes looking through our (too large) collection. Isn’t it amazing how fast mugs accumulate? As time passes, seasons of life change, and/or you find new favorite mugs, it becomes easy to get rid of once-cherrished mugs. Quite quickly, we were able to whittle our collection down to about 12.
Your Turn: When purging, consider how often mugs are used…like…really used. I personally have one favorite coffee mug that I use every single day, but my husband likes to change it up. We ultimately settled on a balance of ones we use, love, and would offer guests.
The next step is always the trickiest and most time-consuming of any decluttering project: analyzing the space and your items to figure out how it should all be put back together.
This cabinet started with 4 shelves, and I thought for certain we needed to raise the bottom two shelves up. So I did. But after putting items in and playing around, I realized things weren’t fitting quite as I expected. So I played around some more…and some more…and some more.
The “Analyze” step of any organization project is rarely a straight line; and wouldn’t you know I re-arranged these shelves no less than 4 times before landing on “the one” that was a perfect solution to this space. In the end, I realized that loosing a shelf allowed me to best store everything necessary in this cabinet.
Your Turn: Don’t expect to get it right the first time. Move shelves, re-arrange collections, try different storage options, put items in, pull them back out, and keep experimenting until you’re sure you’ve identified the best all-around setup.
Before diving into this project, I had already spent time on Pinterest, Google, and Amazon exploring various solutions for how to organize coffee mugs in kitchen cabinets. I found options ranging from shelves and hooks to baskets, turntables, and racks. Ultimately, I decided to give under-cabinet hooks a try. I thought they would really allow me to take full advantage of the shelves’ dimensions and help keep our collection under control over time.
After reading a lot of reviews, I ultimately landed on these XL Cup Holders for our cabinets. Not only was the price really reasonable for two, but the larger hooks and wider spacing seemed promising for accommodating a wide range of mug sizes. (Spoiler: They do!)
These mug holders come with adhesive strips and mounting screws to make them super tight and sturdy within your cabinet. However, as renters, we never ever drill into cabinets or shelves that aren’t ours; so I instead turned to my trusty (Velcro-style) Command Strips to keep these mug holders in place.
I placed a set of Command Strips between the top bracket and shelf on both the front and back of each holder. So far, this solution is working brilliantly to keep these holders from shifting all around!
It may look like I just slid these two brackets onto our shelf and called it a day. In reality, I played with the spacing and arrangement a lot. Not only did I want the mugs to all fit side-by-side below, but I also had to be aware of how items (like our K-cup carousel and new water glasses) would sit on the shelf above the brackets. This final arrangement was very intentional so every last item fit just right.
TIP! I highly recommend placing and securing your adhesive strips at the very end of your project. I arranged and re-arranged this cabinet so many times, that I would have been frustrated had these hooks already been “set” in place.
The final step was to put the mugs onto the hooks. Placing less-used mugs toward the back and favorites at the front should help contribute to the long-term success of this system!
Your Turn: There is no one-size-fits-all for every cabinet and every household. Under-cabinet hooks worked great in this situation, but you might find a turntable, extra shelf, or different hook layout better for your specific needs.
Typically, my last step in an organizing project is to “embellish” with labels, but I clearly didn’t need to label my mugs. However, there were a few other details I added to “enhance” the overall look and function of this cabinet.
I originally had the bottom shelf on the lowest set of holes so the mugs just reached the bottom. But it occurred to me that by raising the shelf a bit, we could place a tray that holds our other coffee essentials.
Now, all the scoops and filters we use to prep coffee are contained right at eye-level and easy to reach!
Below this shelf is where we have all of our coffee makers and other accessories. I realize having both a Keurig and a coffee pot seems excessive; but every time we try to get rid of one or the other, we find ourselves needing it. Based on the season of life, how many people are drinking coffee, and the time of day, we sometimes just want a cup or need a full pot! The bean storage jar was an Amazon Prime Day score. We love not only having the beans handy and ready to go; but the see-through jar ensures we’re always stocked!
With the K-cup carousel on the shelf above, everything we need for coffee is all in one, tidy, convenient spot!
Not sure the best solution for storing K-Cups in your kitchen here? See my full guide: Where & How to Store Coffee K-Cups (In Any Kitchen Layout!)
Your Turn: I chose not to add too many embellishments to this space, but don’t let that hold you back! Pretty labels, decorative shelf liner, or even some color-sorted coffee pods or tea bags can go a long way in helping you maintain your cabinet’s new organization!
The Rest of the Cabinet
I’d be remiss not to show you what else we have stored in this cabinet since these items also played into our organization decisions!
Another major short-coming of our previous cabinet setup was that we had no water glasses nor the space to store them. We ultimately chose these straight-walled water glasses for their simple shape and affordable price tag.
Along the very top shelf, we placed extra water bottles and travel mugs, as well as holiday mugs. These are items we don’t use regularly and can be grabbed or swapped out as needed.
Finally, we always have a candle burning in the evening. This one is our favorite scent and we buy it regularly; but I also use this trick to help get the most out of every candle. The glass jar is just a cleaned out candle filled with leftover wax we use in our warmer (similar).
Shop My Coffee Mug Cabinet
1 – Mug Under-Cabinet Holder | 2 – Command Strips | 3 – Coffee Pod Carousel | 4 – Stori Acrylic Trays | 5 – Coffee Bean Jar | 6 – Water Glasses
Don’t Have a Cabinet To Spare?
See how we setup a free-standing shelf to be our in-home kitchen coffee station!
I feel like the coffee mug cabinet is one of the hardest kitchen spots to organize and maintain. For one, mugs often hold a lot of sentimental value, so collections can quickly spiral out of control. But practically speaking…mugs are also all sorts of different sizes and shapes, making it tricky to find a solution that really works. And you better bet: too many mugs + no good system in place = a mess! I hope the ideas I shared today on how to organize coffee mugs in a cabinet prove helpful to you. This is yet another space I wish I hadn’t waited so long to whip into shape; and now I certainly grin ear-to-ear each morning when I open this cabinet to start our day!
10 Comments on “How to Organize Coffee Mugs in a Cabinet”
The link too….this trick for candles does not seem to be correct. I don’t see the trick
So sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know…here’s the link: http://www.iheartorganizing.com/2019/01/save-your-scents-how-to-make-most-of.html
We have a coffee maker that has both a pot and a single cup option, so we only have one machine on the counter. We have this one, but there are many options:
And in the interest of helping the environment (and or wallets) we use refillable pods in our keurig with little tiny filters and they work great.
Thanks so much for sharing that link, Jenelle!
We’ve considered getting a combo pot and have never done it since we had the Keurig first and didn’t want to just get rid of it. I sure love how sleek that one is, so we’ll definitely have to consider upgrading!
It’s a lot of work but so rewarding to get a trouble spot fixed.
The shelves are fixed in my apartment so I work around that. Turntables, step shelves and magazine holders work well – but purging is important. The saddest day for me was donating my DH’s coffee mug collection…. But it meant more to him than me and I learned to be very firm as I sorted thru stuff after he died. I console myself that these things are better being used.
It sounds like you have some great solutions in place despite the fixed shelf 👏🏻 And yes, for some reason, purging mugs can be tough on the emotions but it sounds like you had a great perspective about it!
Thanks for stopping by today!
Lovely! But what do you do with the weeded out military mugs? (Or maybe those are always keepers?) Also, would you please share info on your coffee bean grinder? Love your blog- thank you!
Ohhh…the military glassware! We have another (high up) shelf that has random glasses from events, balls, and past units. This time around, he was ready to get rid of some of the military mugs, and 2 of them went down to be pencil cups or sit on a shelf in his office. We tried really hard to keep this cabinet for mugs we’ll actually drink out of!
Regarding the grinder, it’s this one and we love it! We had one for about 5 years when it literally (like…last month!) croaked on us (the motor wore out…my guess from daily use!) We replaced it with the exact same one!
Hope that helps!
Saw you had a Cuisanart Coffee Maker and wondered if you have ever noticed water leaking under the hot plate?
No, we haven’t. But we do notice that the coffee leaks (from the carafe) as we pour. Not a ton, but enough that we have to wipe it up.
Sorry I don’t have an answer for you here!