I travel light if I can – I reckon that William Morris had it right when he said ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’ But there are exceptions to every rule, and mine come with handles.
I always knew I had more than enough mugs to go round, although somehow they escaped even my most enthusiastic attempts at de-cluttering. I did, after all, use each one of them from time to time. But a few years ago I emptied all of my kitchen cupboards at the same time, and was a little shocked to find I had forty-eight different ones. I still had one of the Mary Quant mugs that my sister gave me when I first set up home. The ‘Happy New Year’ mug from 1981, the Snoopy mug I had in my luggage when I went to University, the frighteningly gory ‘Macbeth’ mug, the ‘Year 2000’ mug… you get the picture. Ironically I also have a William Morris mug (sans quote). And there’s this little beauty, which my mother bought for me from a jumble sale, more than twenty years ago, and which includes a snippet of breathless prose on the back. I wonder what became of Jake and Jessica?
Why, I hear you ask. The answer is that I have no idea. I’ve never had cause to use all the mugs simultaneously. And the funny thing is, that I don’t remember ever having left home with the express intention of buying a mug. They just seem to have crept up on me.
In my defence, a number of them have been presents. Friends notice my rather diverse collection and so they add to it 🙂 But forty-eight seemed enough to last me a lifetime, and I imposed a ban on myself. I couldn’t face throwing any of the mugs I already had away, as so many of them held memories for me, but enough was enough.
My resolution was a limited success. Mugs are surprisingly robust, and in the past few years natural wastage has only claimed one of them. And I couldn’t resist adding a Paralympics mug, and a particularly snazzy one from The Globe to my collection. But generally speaking, the mug population seems to have reached a plateau. And in the scheme of things, I suppose that mugs aren’t the most lavish of indulgences, even if they do take up more than their fair share of room in the kitchen cupboard.
So there’s my confession. I’m not alone in this, a friend of mine has a whole drawer full of shopping bags, and she’s the first to admit that she couldn’t possibly use all of them at once and has no idea where most of them came from. Do you have a collection which crept up on you while you weren’t looking? If so, what did you do with it? Or do you manage to stick with just the useful and the beautiful?