Frugality involves reducing waste. This includes saving useful items to reuse. But you don’t want to accumulate a bunch of clutter because — let’s face it — you can have the best of intentions, but that doesn’t mean you will use hundreds of saved items. In other words, saving a handful of twist-ties is good if you use them regularly. Saving every single one for years until your kitchen drawer doesn’t close is hoarding. It seems funny that anyone would save that many, but plenty of people do so. Some items are harder to decide whether to keep or toss (or curbside recycle, in some cases). One example is glass jars. Previously, I shared ways to reuse small baby-food jars (www.frugalvillage.com/2008/08/08/baby-food-jars-handy-for-more-than-food/).
Label removal is easy if you soak the jars in hot water. If there’s still some glue residue, use vinegar, baby or vegetable oil and a plastic or green Scotch-Brite scrubbie to remove it.
Here are a few ways to use empty jars.
IN THE KITCHEN: Glass jars work well to hold food such as rice, pasta, flour, tea, coffee, dried beans, snacks, etc. Jars often use less space than bulky packaging. Reuse a jar to shake gravy, as a refrigerator storage container for leftovers, drinking glasses, to grow sprouts, hold sourdough starter, or to put your soap slivers into with water. Toss in a marble to help combine the two, and then use as liquid hand soap.
DECORATION: Use a jar to display mementos such as seashells, small stones or sand from the beach or dried flowers or candles.
PLANTS AND FLOWERS: Use a spare jar as a vase for cut flowers, or keep the lid and make a terrarium by layering small pebbles or gravel for drainage, adding potting soil, your plant(s) and then a little bit of sheet moss. Water lightly, and add the lid.
GIFTS: Gifts in a jar are popular homemade items to give. Gift ideas include homemade mixes, candies, cookies, pet treats, etc. But your gift doesn’t have to be food-related. Use a large jar (gallon or larger) to hold anything you would normally place into a gift basket such as craft supplies, toys, first-aid supplies, sewing or office-supplies kit, cosmetics or photos (http://content.photojojo.com/diy/glass-jar-photo-frames).
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