I love saving glass jars from the recycle bin! They are so versatile for reusing, that I feel I can never have too many–though my cupboards tell me otherwise some days.
Mason jars are probably the most popular jars for their esthetic, but I find it useful to keep all types and sizes of jars–everything from pasta jars to spice jars and everything in between.
Inspiration for Reusing Your Glass Jars
But what to do with them all? Jars can be used for so many things. I’ve got a list of 26 ways to use your glass jars to get you started.
1. Gift Wrapping
I love finding creative ways to wrap gifts and what better way to package up a present than in a reusable glass jar! If you want to hide what’s inside, just line the glass with some paper or fabric.
[Related: Plastic Free Gift Wrap]
2. Create “Gifts in a Jar”
Homemade gifts can make a present extra special and using upcycled glass jars are a great way to present them.
[Related: DIY Spa Gifts]
3. Drinking Glass
No cups? No problem! Glass jars are a fun way to have a unique drinking glass.
4. Travel Mug
And if you’re on the go, jars will have their own lids and are a perfect, sealable travel mug! (Use appropriate caution, though, when putting hot liquids into glass jars.)
If you do have a jar appropriate for taking your hot coffee on the road with you, you can use a sock as a cup cozy to keep the drink warm and your hands from being too hot. (Thank you to Dani at Live Like You Green It for this tip!)
5. Shaker Jar
My coworker shared this tip with me: use a glass jar to shake up your non-dairy creamer to make foam for your coffee.
6. Dry Food Storage
Glass jars are a great, clean way to store your non-perishables. From dry beans and lentils to oats and dried fruits, glass jars can store pretty much anything!
7. Food Prep and Storage
Store food in your fridge–anything from leftovers to snacks to food prep. I prepare a week’s worth of veggies for snacks that I will store in jars of water in the fridge. Jars are perfect for this!
8. Freeze Food
Caution is needed when freezing food in glass, but they are a versatile option for storing food and I often freeze portions in my glass jars.
[Related: 20 Unexpected Food You Can Freeze]
9. Send Leftovers Home with Friends/Family
Have extra jars on hand to pack leftovers for your dinner guests. They are a fantastic, zero-waste way to transport food and re-used jars are containers that don’t need to be returned. A win-win!
10. Pack Your Lunch
Jars are a leak proof way to pack your lunch to work.
11. Spice Jars/Herb Storage
Just like your non-perishables, spices store well in glass jars. Check out this upcycle inspiration from Beach Eclectic where she’s upcycled jars for spices she dried.
12. Canning Food
Possibly the most obvious–and original?–use for jars is canning your food! I’ve never done this myself before, but always loved growing up with homegrown canned fruits in our pantry.
13. Pickling Food
Have extra cucumbers from your garden? Jars are perfect for pickling them! Last year I tried out Epicure’s Quickles Pickling Mix and it was such an easy introduction to pickling food.
Give your glass jars some flair with a little paint and use them as cute little planters.
[Related: 3 Things I Always Reuse]
If jars can hold plants, they can certainly hold cut flowers! Use your jars for vases in either decorated or traditional style.
16. Candle Holder
Make homemade candles of various sizes. (Like with freezing, make sure to use caution with heat and glass.)
Decorate your party with creative and unique lighting. Tea lights placed in jars and hung from a pergola add a beautiful ambiance to an outdoor party.
18. Craft Supplies Storage
Jars are a great way to store your craft supplies. They can hold things of various sizes and with clear glass jars, you can easily identify what’s inside.
19. Tools Supplies Storage
Store all your loose nuts and bolts and other small supplies in reused jars.
20. Pencil Holder
Stash your stationary in a trendy Mason jar.
21. Make Up Brush Holder
There’s no need to go out and buy a new storage container–just upcycle a glass jar for your make up brush holder.
22. Money Jars
Gail Vaz Oxlade’s budgeting trick is to use one jar for each section of your budget. For example, use one jar for your weekly grocery spending, one for gas money, one for entertainment money, and so on. It is a fantastic visual way to keep track of your cash flow.
23. Piggy Bank
Not only can jars be used for budgeting, but they can also be a piggy bank! Have fun decorating them or leave the jar translucent so you can watch your money build up.
24. Make a Decoration or Piece of Art
Decorate the inside or the outside of your jar to create a unique piece of art. Try layering coloured sand inside your jar to create interesting colour patterns or create a scene with various pieces you’ve collected from your journeys.
25. Create a Centerpiece
Use a variety of sizes of glass jars to create a multi-level centerpiece. Fill jars with flowers, candles, or other unique items–the opportunities are endless!
26. Grocery Shop at your Local Refillery
Look up your local refillery and take your glass jars in when you shop!