I'm a little bit of a pack rat, but for once, it seems to be a good thing.
I've been saving jars lately. Large jars, small jars... doesn't matter. I figure that I'll eventually find a use for them.
I started saving baby food jars because of my mom. And before we go any further, yes, we've been getting jarred baby food, but fear not! I'm still a homemade baby food-making machine! We're able to get a certain allotment of baby food every couple of months through the WIC program, and I'd hate to let it go to waste. We leave the jarred stuff with the grandparents and sitter and use the homemade stuff at home... but anyway...
My mom used to sew a lot when I was little, and she kept her extra buttons, pins, and other sewing notions in old baby food jars. When we started getting jarred baby food, I instantly remembered playing with the little jars and rattling them around and whatnot. So, I decided to hang on to all of our jars. I don't sew, but I knew I'd find a use for them eventually. I also have a bunch of small 4 oz canning jars that were left over from my baby shower. (They were filled with M&Ms and used as party favors.) I also began to keep the big jars that Wyatt's applesauce comes in. At this point, Kenny's rolling his eyes and sighing as he lines up the jars next to the sink to wash them. But trust me, jars - no matter the size - are one of the easiest things to upcycle!
Small jars are great for holding a vast array of little items that tend to get lost. Paper clips, stamps, thumbtacks, bobby pins, small nails, washers, nuts and bolts, and hair ties can all be kept nice and neat and in one place. Dried herbs and spices can also be kept in smaller labeled jars. I've been using small jars as a sidecar to hold small pieces of fruit or sauce in my bento lunches.
Large jars can hold flour, rice, and other grains in your kitchen pantry. Pack a jar with plastic silverware and napkins to take on a picnic, then use the jars as drinking glasses. Pour used cooking oil into a large jar instead of down the drain (which is a no-no anyway.) Keep it until it's full and take it out with the rest of your household garbage. A large jar full of potpourri with a doily tied to opening in place of the lid makes a pretty addition to a coffee table. Layer dry ingredients for homemade cookies in a jar and give as a gift. And of course, large mason jars make great glasses for sweet tea down here in the South. =)
It's easy to acquire jars even if you're not purchasing baby food. Hang on to your spaghetti sauce and pickle jars. You never know what use you'll find for them!
-Mother Nature Mom
PS - Feel free to leave your ideas in the comments section. I have more jars than I do ideas!