Thursday, March 17, 2011

Repurposing Jars

I have an affinity towards glass jars.  They are a favorite of mine.  They embody so many things I appreciate:  they can be repurposed, they are versatile, they are practical, they are vintage, classic, and they are free (or paid for when purchasing pasta sauce and jam).

As I looked around the other day, I realized that I use jars in so many ways all over my house:
It all started with votive candles.  Jam jars became pretty, vintage, free candle holders on the dining room table and on the front porch. 

Since I like to recycle, and our city’s curbside recycling doesn’t pick up glass, I began to collect glass jars under the kitchen sink to re-use or take to the recycle drop off center.  I dig into the pile when I need a jar to use for something and take the rest to the drop off periodically.  (Which, by the way, my kids love.  There is something about it- throwing glass into large metal dumpsters-the loud crashing glass, and the renegade feeling, while actually being environmentally responsible, that makes it a big event at our house).  So I recycle some and save some for repurposing.

I must say that some jars are prettier than others, and some are more useful in size than others.  Sometimes, Dave asks me if I really need all these jars, that are pouring out of my our cabinet.  I try to explain that I really do try to sort and recycle every couple of months, but some I must keep.  I sometimes feel the urge to defend each jar's potential future use to him.  After all, there are times that I even choose to buy a certain jar of jam because the jar is so pretty and I think it would be great to repurpose!

Jars can be used for so many different things.  You never know when you might need one! Some of my favorite uses are:
to hold flowers- fresh

and dried

and office supplies: clips and erasers in the drawer, 

pens, Sharpies & pencils

 water for painting

and homemade salad dressings

and thankful trees

and even pink lemonade!

A couple of my students have been bringing their iced tea and chai to class in a glass jar with the lid securely screwed on for safe travel.  How fun is that?- the retro travel mug!

So, before you ditch that jelly jar, pasta jar, pimento jar (one of my favorites)- think again- it might have a great purpose.


  1. One more thing we have in common, Julie. I'm a total jar-repurposer! Just yesterday I had ice cream in one of my Ball jars because it seemed fancier than my floral bowl.

  2. A friend suggested baking rosemary bread in jelly jars (the small ones) so that each person got a personal loaf in its own jar! You can tie a tag around each to serve as nametags. (I actually BOUGHT a dozen 4-oz. jars. for this purpose!) Sorry, I couldn't wait til I had 12 to re-purpose!! :)

  3. You have re-purposed many jars to me over the years, Julie! Thank you for the inspiration, and many brides thank you for keeping their bouquets nice and fresh upon delivery!! xoxo

  4. Uh-oh...I think I've found another fellow Real Simple reader.

  5. Love it! Totally going to repurpose some jars now! Although I do love that shattering of glass at the recycle bins too!

  6. I use jars to hold and display my Scrapbooking flowers, buttons, ribbon and other goodies. I can't throw a jar away knowing what possibilities they have for a new life! I had not thought to use them for a vase. Totally used a pickle jar to take flowers to a friend today. Thank you so much for the idea!

    And let me just say how much I LOVE your blog! I've been reading since Jessica Turner posted the link on her blog a few months ago. I've only made your brownies and baked potato soup, but there are so many more I want to try. Those two got rave reviews. I've made the brownies 5 times!
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas and recipes! :)

  7. Betsy, I am so glad you found cup-a cup-a and that your brownies have been a hit and that you got to take a jar of flowers to a friend! Thanks for reading. Let me know what other recipes you enjoy.

  8. I repurposed another jar tonight to add to my growing collection! Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. Confessions of another jar-aholic. Love it! I should start sharing my stash...