17 Creative Ways to Reuse Grocery Store Glass Jars Around the House
Reduce waste and save money by reusing old glass containers. From storage and organization to crafts and gifting, the possibilities are endless.
When pasta night is over, and the tomato sauce is gone, there’s no need to toss that empty jar. Reduce waste at home by reusing empty glass containers. From pickles to peppers, jams to olive jars, different-sized vessels can take on numerous jobs with a bit of creativity. And don’t worry if you’ve misplaced the top; some retailers (like this one) offer various size replacement lids.
For use as storage and décor to gifting and crafting, glass containers can get plenty of mileage after they’re emptied of their original contents. Clean them out, and then get started with these 17 ideas for upcycling glass jars.
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1. Entertain in Style
Save empty jars for use when entertaining guests for meals and parties. Perfect for cocktails, iced tea, or lemonade , these jars will be appreciated by visitors for their unusual touch. Add the glass containers to a sundae bar to hold individual servings or to display different toppings. When guests leave, send them home with jarred treats.
2. Start Crafting
Upcycled materials make crafting for kids and adults fun, easy, and eco-friendly. Paint the glass or turn an empty jar into a magical snow globe or fairy house. Use a large one to hold art supplies like markers and paint brushes. Need help figuring out where to start? Get 15 ideas for glass jar crafts from the Artsy Craftsy Mom.
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3. Display Flowers
Cut fresh flowers from the garden and pop them in an upcycled jar for a home accent piece or gift without spending a dollar. Customize the size of the bouquet to the size of the jar for a varied look. Take the design up a notch by wrapping twine around the neck of the jar.
4. Make or Hold Candles
Save money on candle holders and create ambiance around the house by reusing old jars to house favorite pillars or tealights. The craftier set can use empty glass containers to make candles by combining melted wax with essential oils. Don’t be afraid to reuse empty candle jars, but be sure to clean old wax out before adding the new mixture.
5. Try Your Hand at Quick Pickling
Turn cucumbers into pickles overnight in the refrigerator in upcycled jars. The empty containers are ideal for quick pickling, but not for long-term shelf storage where regular lids might not offer a secure enough seal as with canning jars. Homemade pickles are a perfect and thoughtful gift to take to a barbeque. Just be sure to sterilize the jars and lids before using them to avoid mold.
6. Store Dog Treats
A large sauce jar is ideal for storing dog bones, especially when kept by the door for easy access after walks. Add a label with the family pet’s name for a personalized touch. Check out this fun tutorial by Bren Did for an easy upcycled pet treat container.
7. Store Bathroom Necessities
There’s no need to buy fancy jars for storing toiletries. Give empty glass containers a new purpose in the bathroom for stowing items such as Q-tips, makeup brushes, hair ties, and cotton balls. They’ll also come in handy for creative types who enjoy making their own lotions and salt scrubs.
8. Organize a Home Office
For at-home offices that require a bit of organization, a collection of empty jars in varying sizes offers a cute way to store desktop office supplies. Use larger ones to hold pencils or scissors and smaller containers for paper clips, thumbtacks, and staples. Clear glass jars make accessing supplies simple, compared to searching through a messy desk drawer.
9. Store and Share Soup
Storing homemade broth and soups in the refrigerator is a terrific use for those empty jars. Just ensure the liquid is cool before pouring it into the glass container. Also consider reusing glass jars for delivering chicken noodle soup to a sick friend who needs a pick-me-up. Tie a “get well soon” note around the neck for a sweet touch.
10. Make a Change Jar
For a simple place to empty pockets, reuse a glass container as a family change jar. Keep it in a central spot, making it easy for everyone to contribute. For fun, have a monthly contest for who gets to keep the change after it’s been collected, or use it for a fun treat once it’s full.
11. Propagate Plants
Plant propagation involves taking a piece of an existing plant and making a new plant from it. The cuttings are placed in water—or, for succulents, left out to dry—and stored in a sunny spot while a new root grows. Clear containers are perfect for housing cuttings, allowing gardeners to monitor growth in order to know when the root is ready for planting.
12. Store Leftovers and Meal Prep
Save money on reusable food containers; instead, use empty jars for the job. Store leftovers or individual meal portions such as premade salads, salad dressing, smoothie ingredients, overnight oats, and desserts. Reduce the use of plastic bags by using jars in the fridge to marinate meat or store cut vegetables.
13. Get Creative With Gifting
Stash away empty jars for last-minute gifts. Take cut flowers to hosts, or fill a jar with chocolates. Consider layering a jar with the ingredients for something yummy, like this cookie mix recipe from Detoxinista, or make a s’mores kits for friends. For kid-friendly gifts, try homemade play dough or a bubble solution. Add personalized tags or paint the jar for a fun touch.
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14. Build a Terrarium
Bring nature indoors by creating a mini-terrarium. Add charcoal to keep it fresh, plus potting mix, moss, pebbles, and small plants like air plants or succulents to build a tiny world inside a glass jar. For a whimsical accent, include small figurines such as unicorns and fairies. Leave it open for a drier environment and closed for a more humid ecosystem.
15. Store Pantry Items
Take pantry organization up a notch by storing dried goods in empty glass jars. Foods such as rice, dried beans, and coffee will last longer when stored properly with tight-fitting lids. Add labels to items like herbs, spices, and loose teas.
16. Keep the Garage Organized
Clean up a messy tool bench and make finding needed items easier by displaying fasteners in clear jars—separating nuts, bolts, and screws into different containers for garage organization. To save space, mount jars below a shelf by screwing the covers into the bottom of the wood.
17. Pass Them On
There’s a saying: One person’s trash is another one’s treasure. Those who love the idea of reducing waste but don’t need their empty jars might want to consider passing them on. Post the empty vessels on a local Facebook group or message board, or pass them on by sending guests home with jarred leftovers.