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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  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.

  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!

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

  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!

  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.

  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!

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

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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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