Friday, February 04, 2005

On Cleaning Cupboards and Coffee Cups

This morning, as part of my efforts to keep my kitchen functional, I did some cleaning up of my cupboards.

I've lived in my current residence for about 12 years. It's amazing what you can accommodate in terms of kitchenware in that space of time. Most people do, in the course of a lifetime. In my case the things that were eating up my cupboard space were ... cups. Coffee cups.

I don't drink as much coffee as I did when I was in college (although that habit may go up again now that I've shifted to working at night), but over the course of years I managed to get enough cups to fill up two shelves of my cupboards. I had a look at them, wondering how I got so many.

The majority of them were commuter cups, differing shapes and sizes. I remember getting the larger cups in my twenties, when I was studying hard and needed a major blast of caffeine. There was also one I bought at Disney World because when you used it you got unlimited drinks during your stay. A couple of them were corporate promotional items, from consultants and vendors seeking business from my employers.

The thing about commuter cups is, because they're designed to hold warmth in (and are thus made of plastic, or have vacuum wall construction) ... they're pretty darned ugly designs.The exception I'm prepared to make is the "shipboard" design, which bulges at the bottom so that the cup's centre of gravity is lowered.

A lot of them were from restaurants or d├ępanneurs. You gotta admit, nowadays you can't pass by a coffee-shop that doesn't sell a plastic or metal or ceramic mug of some sort to the public. Ostensibly, it's to protect the environment by reducing the use of styrofoam or paper cups. Personally I think it's just a cash grab.

I'm not getting rid of all of my cups, but I need a good reason to keep a few. Some are presents from relatives or close friends, and have sentimental value. Some because they're good designs. Several years ago Maxwell House used to mail you a Max mug if you sent them a proof of purchase. I use this one a lot because the design's a good one; you can drink coffee without burning yourself. (The makers of Kahlua, on the other hand, put out a ceramic mug as a promotional item that was a rotten design because you burned your knuckles when you held it. Nowadays I'm using it as a pencil holder.) There are also a couple I bought from an exhibit of RMS Titanic in Toronto a few years ago, based on the old White Star design. I like them because they're easily stackable and the shallowness of the cup makes them ideal for snack-sized portions of soup.

As for the rest, I'm taking them to the local Salvation Army. I'm sure there are people who would like a cheap mug to take on the bus.


At 8:05 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice writing -- draws me in, paints the picture in my mind. Please keep posting!



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