Finding New Uses for Glass Jars


Do you hold on to used glass jars, from things like canned pasta sauce or condiments? Awhile ago, I started feeling guilty about pitching so many into the recycling bin and decided there must be something I can start using them for. At first, I picked the really pretty jars--specifically the checkered-top Bonne Maman strawberry jelly jars.

Then, we were going through so many jars of salsa, I decided to stash some of those. Then came the oversized spaghetti sauce jars. And then a few more tiny jars with cute features that I figured I might as well hold on to.

To the point of where we must have at least a dozen glass jars (all with the lids!) stacked inside our pantry, de-labeled, washed and ready to be put to use.


For instance, I've got an old apple-sauce jar for our dried black beans; a pasta-sauce jar contains pasta; a maple-syrup bottle houses olive oil; the original over-sized olive oil bottle now contains a water-and-vinegar mixture for cleaning purposes; jelly jars house coffee grinds and leftover coffee from the morning (which I use for making an occasional cold coffee); a super-cute apple-juice bottle contains simple syrup for mixing into my coffee (whether hot or cold); and those salsa jars now hold staples like salt and sugar (labeled so I make sure to tell them apart!).

Slowly but surely, I'm finding uses for them, trying to get away from using plastic containers for storage (especially with hot liquids/foods). And the fact that they don't leak is definitely a plus, and a hard-to-come feature with plastic!

I'm enjoying the satisfaction of being able to find a new use for something I would have otherwise never seen again. It makes me feel resourceful and more homemaker-y to see old jars find new purposes around our home!


Do you re-use glass jars? Any fun uses you've found for them around the house?

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12 comments:

  1. Do you have any tricks for getting stubborn stickiness off from the labels? I have been saving H's applesauce jars and other things, but it seems like there is always a little gooeyness left behind.

    I saw something on a website where they covered the inside of glass jars and vases with acrylic paint and it looked really cool. That would be fun for holding a couple flowers on the windowsill or table.

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  2. Hmm...usually what I do is let them soak in a bowl/pot of hot water for an hour or so. That makes it a lot easier to peel the labels off and then I just run my thumb over the glued areas until the glue sticks to itself and peels off in little clumps. Usually a little patience and redunking in warm water will do the trick, however I have found that if the labels are like tape or a sticker, they do leave behind a stickier residue that usually just comes off with some wear and continued, persistent washing. I imagine if you have that "goo-gone" stuff that would work like a charm, but I usually just do it all by hand, myself!

    I have seen a craft similar to that back in the old Budget Living magazine (if you ever read that). They took mirror/mercury-glass paint and painted the inside of a glass jar so that it looked all antique-y. I have always wanted to try that. Perhaps when I get a place where I have room to display things I'll try that!

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  3. my roomie is saving them for candle holders at her wedding reception. :)

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  4. Oh, I bet that will be beautiful! We did something similar at our reception and had little collections of white bud vases with wildflowers as the centerpieces (a little garden-shabby kind of look). It was quite a bit of work, but I'm so glad we were able to pull it off! I adore the way that looks!

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  5. I use olive oil to remove the sticky after soaking first. It worked surprisingly well!

    We love Bonne Maman jams and I have 20 or so of the jars, lovely little things since there is not the frustration of having a narrower mouth as some have.

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  6. This is way late, but I use nail polish remover to get the sticky stuff off. Just pour some on a cotton ball and wipe it off. It doesn't leave an oily residue and it's super quick!

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  7. Oh, thanks, Corrie! I had never heard of using nail polish remover but that totally makes sense. Thanks for sharing!

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  8. Growing up, my Mom never used plastic (Probably weren't around then) But she did re-use her jars to store leftovers and all like you do.

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  9. I have found that for getting really stubborn glue off jars, mineral spirits works great! If soaking doesn't work, I skip the nail polish remover I used to try, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn't, and go straight to the mineral spirits. I use a rubber glove and a cotton ball for this. I keep some under the sink in an old glass vinegar bottle, the large container it comes in stays in the garage.

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  10. Our jars and bottles (recycled) are never thrown away immediately. We always see to it that we find a new use for them after they have served their original purpose. It's a really good way to conserve, although throwing them away is not really a bad thing. There are existing businesses now that sell jars and bottles made up of recycled glass.

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  11. I'm coming late to the party on this one! A few months ago I started collecting our glass jars too. I use them to store borax in the kitchen + one in the laundry room, another with baking soda for the laundry room, used oil from "frying", chocolate chips, brown sugar, pasta, and the list goes on and on. I have them hanging in two wire baskets in our dining room (which I feel I may need to add another basket!). Love always having them on hand.

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  12. I use starbucks glass coffee bottles as spice jars. I use warm soapy water and steel wool from dollar store to get rid of glue from them and it works and leaves no scratches on glass.

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