Shutterstock / Brent Hofacker
When you’ve emptied jars of pasta sauce and baby food, think twice about tossing them in the recycling bin. The durable (and basically free) jars can be used again and again throughout your home. On top of keeping things organized, they’ll add a rustic-chic feel to any space. Read on to learn some of our favorite ways to reuse glass jars.
Store bulk ingredients
Fill jars with staples like flour or oatmeal to keep pantries looking neat. Clear glass lets you take a peek at the jar’s contents, so you’ll be able to see when you’re running low on something. Also, using your own storage containers can help save money at the grocery store. Shop in the bulk section, filling jars instead of using plastic bags or buying expensive packaged goods.
Pack a lunch to go
Make glass jars your go-to container for to-go lunches. Fill one with your favorite pasta salad or salad greens, or layer yogurt and nuts for a homemade parfait. Make sure you leave a little room at the top so you can mix the ingredients together by shaking the jar (with the lid on, of course).
Create a hanging spice rack
Free up space on your counters and in your pantry by turning baby food jars into nifty hanging containers. Attach the lids to the bottom of your kitchen cabinets using screws. Fill the jars with your favorite spices, and then twist them onto their lids to hang. This makes an attractive presentation, and the jars will stay in place and within easy reach. This works great in the garage, too. Use the jars to organize nails and other small hardware.
Store kitchen utensils on the countertop
Show off that set of matching utensils or funky thrift-store finds by plopping them into a large countertop jar. While you’re cooking, it’ll be a cinch to find slotted spoons, ladles and spatulas. This also frees up precious drawer space for cutlery and smaller kitchen gadgets.
Plant an indoor herb garden
Save money on pricey herbs by growing your own on a sunny windowsill. Simply fill large jars with potting soil, plant the seeds and water. In a few weeks, you’ll have a nice crop of super fresh herbs for salads, sandwiches and roasts. If you prefer to season dishes with dried herbs, trim and store them in another jar.
Sip in style
Rinse out an old jelly jar to make a perfectly suitable drinking glass. The medium-size jars make it easy to control portions. Plus, they’re less fragile than delicate glassware and can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Collect enough, and you’ll have a matching set for parties.
Add flavor to olive oil
Fill a jar with olive oil and add herbs such as thyme and rosemary to make dressings for salads and breads. The herbs add character to the oil, and while it infuses, the mixture gives countertops a bohemian touch. Use a bottle with a tapered neck and small opening so you can easily control the pour. Take it to its logical conclusion by making your own vinaigrette.
Whip up a batch of flavorful liqueur using fresh fruits. Add jalapenos to tequila or blueberries to vodka and let sit in a sealed jar. It’ll take as little as a day and tastes much better than the artificially flavored stuff. Since alcohol doesn’t freeze, these are fine to store in the freezer.
Store and label homemade cleaners
If you make homemade cleaners with ingredients like lemon and vinegar, a glass jar is an excellent way to store them. Labeling the jars with masking tape will help you quickly find what you’re looking for. Use jars with large lids so you can easily dip a rag into the solution during cleaning sprees.
Put flowers on display
Who needs an expensive vase when there are empty jars sitting around? Store-bought and handpicked flowers take pride of place in a pickle jar filled with water. Even after the blooms have gone, dried flowers are often pretty enough to keep on display, or you can transfer the petals to a smaller jar for a colorful, aromatic home accent.
Keep toiletries within easy reach
Spruce up your morning routine by placing bathroom essentials in a variety of jars. Cotton balls and swabs will be easy to see and access, and toothbrushes won’t leave smudges on countertops. You can even store bandages and ointments, so when a kiddo scrapes their knee you can quickly patch them up.
Display soaps and bath salts
Give your bathroom a spa-like touch by peppering it with goodies like soaps and bath salts. To turn a mason jar into a soap dispenser, remove the pump from a regular bottle of hand soap. Poke a hole through the center of the jar’s lid so it’s just snug enough to fit the pump, then use strong glue to seal the pump in place. Screw the lid back onto the jar and you have a darling soap dispenser that can be refilled again and again.
Organize art supplies
Stuff a tall jar full of colored pencils or brushes to keep craft tools organized. Thanks to the see-through glass, kids can easily locate the color they’re looking for. The glass containers will also help keep drawers free of dusty shavings and flecks of old, dried-up paint.
Make a DIY piggy bank
Cut a coin-sized slit in the jar’s lid to create an opening for coins and folded bills. Unlike traditional piggy banks, transparent jars let kids see their savings progress and get a better idea of how much money they’ve stored away.
Give it as a gift
Fill your prettiest empty jars with homemade treats. Think specialty hot chocolate mix, pickled peppers, homemade soup mix or one of our other gift-worthy recipes. Remember to include a label with instructions if needed, then top it off with a bow for the perfect gift for any special event.