Solving the big issues: Cup o’ Mystery

This morning I cleaned my house. Again. It’s SO boring isn’t it? I couldn’t stand the thick layer of dust over EVERYTHING in my house thanks to my gorgeous fire so I dusted, polished, vacuumed and mopped it to within an inch of it’s life! I even scrubbed the bathrooms and we all know I only do that when thing are dire. They were. So yay! Cleanliness is restored…until the fire goes on tonight. I guess we have another month of them and then we might be done?

Anyway, whilst scrubbing the bath and shower screens I did some thinking. About how you can have some parts of your house that are always picture perfect, and then other areas/cupboards that you couldn’t care less about. Me? Well I’m pretty anal about keeping things tidy but my kitchen cupboards are a bit of a disgrace, and I really don’t care about it. I also refuse to iron. I just don’t do it. And I don’t care. What someone can deal with, another could not. But I think I have found a universal item in the house that would be in a similar condition.

I give you. The cup o’ Mystery.

You know the one. In the kitchen, or bench, near the phone, packed to the brim with pens and well, stuff. Mine even has a broken handle because it has fallen down off the bench a few times and had it’s handle broken off. Classy hey? It’s also SO full of pens – many of them that don’t work anymore, that you can’t add another item to it. Although most days I try to, so that there are 4 or 5 items that are just balanced there, ready to fall at any moment.

I wanted to check my shower cleaning theory this morning. That in every one of these cups, all over the country, nay the WORLD, there are a few consistent items.

So, I emptied out the 27 pens, 2 pairs of scissors, crayons and pencils.

And BAM! Right next to the 2 broken DARTS (of course?!) there they were! It was true!

A Hair elastic.
Some coins.
A hair clip. Or two in this instance.

God only knows what a corner of a wrapper is doing in there (seriously was someone SO lazy that they put it in here rather than the bin?!) or a rabbit ring, but there they are. My 3 items that I think are in most of these cups. Actually, maybe it’s only a girl thing? I certainly remember going through our cup when I was little and in need of a hair elastic…there was always one in there!

So. Tell me. What’s in your cup?


  1. Too funny, I just cleaned mine out yesterday! I had 2 pairs of scissors, lots of pens, pencils, crayons, paintbrushes and a few rulers, but sadly no hair elastics or rabbit rings. I did have a small bundle of bag ties, which made me wonder who the serial killer was.

  2. Yes! Ours is a stubble cooler that’s how classy we are. I have four boys but there is a hair elastic in there for sure. Scissors, pens, pencils check, also an Allen key and screwdriver. Obviously we move too often!

  3. Pens, half of which don’t work, pencils that need to be sharpened and nail files, most of which as so old and worn down. Oh and my favourite the rubber bands on the outside of the cup, most of which are so old they disintegrate as soon as you touch them.

  4. Deborah Paterson says

    OMG how funny, I’ve been eyeing my cup up for a few days giving it the eye, thinking to myself…. “the time is coming.. time to empty the cup” haven’t ventured there yet, but I’m so pleased to know that you have a cup too… makes me feel normal.

  5. Ha ha…we have a bowl!
    And yes it has coins, pens, some screws and other little hardware bits, a key that looks like it belongs to a bike lock but whose bike lock I have no idea, some baby sunglasses, lots of business cards, a few postcards and an iPod!

    My house seriously needs a spring clean…I cannot wait to get stuck into cleaning all the places I usually ignore!

  6. My cup overfloweth too…pens, pencils, textas, cigi lighter, scissores, usbs, glue, blutak, nail file, staples, paperclips…boring really..I want a bunny ring!!

  7. Ha ha! I’ve got the pens, unsharpened pencils, an Allen key, Hair elastic, buttons, little plastic thingy off my Venetian blind, and Lego! Maybe you should do a post on the pantry- I cleaned mine out yesterday and found canned goods that went out of date in 2006!

  8. Loose staples. Why, I have no idea! Oh and a couple of Paddle Pop sticks.

  9. Mines a small ceramic pot plant holder and it had pens (yes many that don’t work), pencils, scissors, nail file, blu tak – out of its wrapper of course, small flag post-its…

  10. my whole house is full of those cups goddamn it.
    i need some STORAGE.
    my kingdom for some GODDAMN storage…….!!!!!!!
    H A L P

  11. I am so glad it’s not just me! I have a cup for all the stationery (also includes a ruler and 2 paintbrushes) and a bowl for the hardware and crap. I felt so bad about all those blunt pencils I bought myself a Smiggle electric pencil sharpener that no-one is allowed to use except me! What I’d like to know is how long do you give all those bits and pieces that you have no idea where they came from but think they may be important? A year? And what about The Pile? … school notes and other bits that have to stay there so you don’t forget Book Week or other stuff?

  12. Lots of chalk, bulldog clips, batteries, half a container of glitter, a dice, a stray button, a couple of nappy pins, magnetix balls, a few sewing pins & a jar of metallic stars. All of which I’m sure will come in handy for something. Thanks for the inspiration to start my spring clean.

  13. Unfortunately I don’t have a ‘cup’ but a whole drawer that i call the ‘junk drawer’ – or is this another post in itself???

    but my junk drawer contains: a gazillion rubber bands taken off bunches of asparagus, brocollini etc, cos you never know when you’ll need a gazillion purple rubber bands… loose staples. tea towels that i want to keep ‘nice’ (what – why?), allen keys, pens, screwdriver and scores of those twist tie things that come with freezer bags (again – why have i saved these??)

    • You know what Leanne? I too have those purple broccolini bands and I have FINALLY found a use for them. When Daisy picks little posy’s of flowers for her teacher I whack one around them and voila! A use!


  14. That cup could be the exact same one in my house, except NONE of our pens work and the pencils are sharpened but snap when you use them. I have to go hunting elsewhere for a pen that works.

  15. I have an entire drawer I call the busy drawer. Probably because it’s full of stuff we are all too busy to put away! It is full of the usual suspects you’ve mentioned and then an assortment of parts from things that I hold up occasionally and ask someone what it is for and nobody ever seems to know…then I throw it back in the drawer because obviously the day will come when I figure out exactly what that part is for and I will cry bitter tears if I have thrown it out the day before.
    Oh and keys!!…probably for vehicles ad homes that have long left out possession and the tiny little ones that come with secret diaries that little girls acquire on a regular basis.

  16. I wish mine was a cup! Mine is a basket full of so much crap I actually made a wall hanger with pockets so I could have bit of order to the chaos…. The hanger still hasnt been hung ๐Ÿ™
    In the basket you’ll find letters, menus, bills,pens, hooks, keys ( to what I’m not sure), batteries( dead? alive ? I’m not sure, I’ll ask the kids to stick them in their tongue to check ), pins….shit there is a bit of everything in there. If you need it, it’s in the basket. We are living in chaos I tell ya!!!

  17. No cup here, ours is a bowl which is currently due to be emptied as its contents are about to spill out. No pens or scissors in there though, just coins, screws, ‘things to be fixed’ (eg. bits and bobs that have to be glued back together and so on) and buttons. And as for ironing, I too only do it when I really HAVE to ๐Ÿ™‚ If you hang washing well and put it away without leaving it to get crumpled and creased, you can do without it I say x

    • I agree! You KNOW I am a good washing hanger and I cannot abide piles of crumpled washing. I put that down to my no need for ironing. I WILL do a frock or shirt for a special occasion…but chances are I’ve had that dry cleaned!

      I like your style Amanda.

  18. I usually find 5c coins, paper clips and bobby pins. And ink stains.

  19. Bahahahaa! Yes the Universal Cup of Mystery. Ours is a tin but same thing happens. PS. Re ironing, I can send Mr SY down! He loves it.

  20. Ah the cup.
    Mine currently holds : 5 pens, 2 pencils, 2.5 nail files, a small crochet hook that I used to unbutton my wedding dress, a keyring, a broken child’s ring, 3 bobby pins, a hair clip, a purple glitter bracelet and 4 sequins.

  21. There is so much in my (multiple) cups of crap but I can never seem to find whatever it is I need which is usually a phillips head screwdriver!

  22. Mines a bloody drawer and a massive one at that..

  23. I love reading these comments! Ours is a gorgeous old jug which would look beautiful filled with spring flowers but sadly contains a gazillion pens, glitter glue and rolls and rolls of sticky and masking tape which hang over the pens threatening to bring the whole lot down. It lives in my pantry which thankfully has a door. Haven’t been checking in as much as I should have Beth so have been catching up on your trip o/s which looked amazing with your fabulous photos! Have a great week, stop cleaning!!

  24. My cup is awesome as it has recently had a makeover! It is a now a gorgeous aqua cotton reel (complete with real thread!!!) from typo – stocked with new kikki k felt tip markers, two working pens, and two sharpened pencils and a pair of scissors. I know. I am loving myself sick!!! It’s been like this for 3 weeks. I can’t tell you what was in the old one – rubber bands had disintegrated into four pens worth of leaked ink, cementing everything in it’s way. But I’m pretty sure there were multiple hair elastics, screws, watch batteries ( no one in this house wears one – no idea why we have batteries) and bits of broken toys.

  25. yup have the cup and the hair elastics but they are only in there when I’m not looking for one ๐Ÿ™

  26. I have a fancy but ugly Aztec Kosta Boda head sculpture (weird ewedding gift from husband’s best friend)… it would hold 2 litres and it is full of crap, matches, buttons, paperclips, threads to repair jumpers in little paper pouches, a n American war veteran badge for 20yrs service (found it at a garage sale when I was a student in US 30yrs ago, lego, baby ID bands..God, I should go check it out

  27. At the moment we are dossing at my folks so i am using her draw…like your cup! BUT!!!! hers is organized like she is…but i have added nerf bullets (those things drive me crazy), lego & crayons, plus more crap which i will have to transfer to our place in November! Arrgh!
    I bet everyone has a draw or a cup!

  28. Hahaha the cup! Well my
    Cup seems to have overflowed into a Chinese container now, it contains pens, crowns, scissors, clips and hair elastics, some rubber bands, paper clips, a few random keys and wait for it….a tampon. Cause you just never know……

  29. all this talk of cups and drawers reminded me of this

  30. I have a bowl, most of the items you mentioned (but no bunny ring, shame). It also holds lots of receipts ‘just in case’, some icy pole sticks from a competition we will never enter, a ball, some bubble mix and a fake rose.

  31. When I redid the kitchen I bought a fancy cream plether covered cup substitute. It doesn’t look so fancy now with its assortment of pens that don’t work, 2 pairs of scissors, a ruler, a plastic Australian flag and in the bottom I can always find paper clips and elastic bands. Oh and there is always a corner of a wrapper. Where do those corners come from?

  32. bargh, i can’t reply to your reply beth!

    but thanks to you, tonight i am going to toss my entire collection of shitty tie things!!

    and since i have no major flowers happening in my garden, let alone any children that may gather a posy for his/her teacher, i’m going to toss (most of) those rubber bands too.. ah bless the junk drawer tidy up, i’m in for an exciting night tonight!!

  33. Am in shock that you don’t iron pillow cases.


  1. […] these drawers…in fact I had written about something similar last year when I wrote about the Cup of mystery. So in honour of Dave, and all others out there who share similar drawers of mystery, I thought […]

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