What do you do with your glass jars whenever whatever was in them is gone? If you said “recycle,” good on ya – that is a great answer.MP900422640[1]

But, how about recycling in an even more direct form — reusing them around the house to store stuff?

Do I sound like your grandmother? If so, it’s because I learned this from my grandmother. Not directly, but by observing her Depression-era habits that lasted into her ‘90s. While we are fortunate to not really need to pinch pennies in the same sense that our elders who lived in that time did, we can still learn a thing or two from their cost-saving and environmentally-friendly habits.  After all, reusing requires less energy than recycling, and even Martha Stewart would tell you that’s “a good thing.”

Our pantry is full of re-used jars to hold items that come in bags or bulk bins. They keep the contents airtight and easily accessible since you can see what’s inside with a quick glance.

I typically keep the jars that don’t have writing on the tops, purely from an aesthetic perspective. If you’re trying to be super frugal or super green, or both, every jar has a use, and  no one will care if you store your coconut flakes in a jar that says “mild salsa” on the lid. I do, however, recommend if you re-use an orange juice bottle to store homemade broth, that you clearly label the bottle, or, someone in your family may have a rude surprise (just ask 2Chili about that one)!

Prepping a Jar to Reuse

Here’s how I prep a jar to reuse once its original contents have been consumed:

  • Hand wash to remove whatever was in it  (If it was nut butter, I fill it with water, put the lid on it, flip it upside down and soak for a few hours to loosen up the gunk)
  • Soak in a tub of water overnight to help release the glue behind the sticker. Some stickers take longer than others to start to release
  • Scrape the softened label off by hand with my fingernails, but if it is really stubborn, a plastic scraper comes in handy
  • Wash in the dishwasher to sanitize


What do you do with your old jars?

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