Of all the vintage stuff I adore, coffee mugs are among my favorite things. Is it because I drink a lot of coffee (I mean, my blog’s newsletter called the Coffee Break)? Because I love sassy ’90s phrases and pop colors?
Because the morning ritual of coffee is made sweeter knowing you’ve rescued your mug from second-hand kitchenware doom?
But, as the official household name of decluttering Marie Kondo would say, they spark major joy.
When I wander into a thrift store here in the city, one of the first things I do is checkout shelves of kitchenware for cute mugs.
If your kitchen cabinet doesn’t have a collection of quirky vintage mugs, don’t despair. Etsy and eBay are quite literally bursting with them—and once you dive down this rabbit hole, you’re almost guaranteed to emerge with some new (old) goodies. Here are 25 of my favorites.
1. 90s “party party” mug ($23.17)
2. 80s Texas souvenir mug ($22)
3. 80s True Detective-inspired BIG HUG MUG ($50.21)
5. 90s Junkfood Clothing love mug ($23.95)
6. 60s Virginia Beach souvenir mug ($62.75)
9. 1984 retro rainbow coffee mug ($15)
10. Stoneware penguins winter coffee mug ($12)
11. Vintage pastel southwestern mug ($12)
12. Otagiri gold rimmed Japanese cat mug ($12)
13. Laurel Burch lotus mug ($22)
14. 1989 “Young at Heart” mug ($8)
15. 1987 Bergschrund pottery zebra mug ($21)
16. Sigma Taste Settle Collection mug ($45)
17. 80s cartoon whale mug ($12)
18. 1961 Napco Dad coffee mug ($27.85)
19. Arizona souvenir coffee mug ($9)
20. 80s Japanese cat mugs – set of two ($27)
22. L’Image Graphics Japanese zodiac mug ($16.99)
23. 80s pastel flamingo mug ($12)
24. Alaska souvenir mug ($8)
25. German Waechtersbach pottery tiny hearts mug ($14.95)
Now, go clear some space in your cabinets…
P.S. Whenever I make a vintage post I feel obligated to call out that this about more than owning quirky stuff from decades past. This is about chipping away at the wasteful consumer habits we’ve become accustomed to in recent decades, propelled by corporations that shove shiny new things in our faces on a daily basis.
The urge to buy new stuff all the time isn’t only draining our bank accounts and cluttering our homes, but it’s also killing the planet. And we kind of need the planet to keep thriving.
Whenever possible, resist the urge to buy something new just because it’s novel or cute. Occasional purchases of new things? Of course, that’s normal! It would be very difficult—not impossible, but difficult—to live your entire life using vintage or second-hand. But when you have the option, hop on Etsy, eBay, Poshmark, or go to local thrift stores to find things that need a new home.
This keeps more out of the landfill and creates a small but significant change in the world.
Also, buying vintage? Very good karma.