Jars, Jars, and more Jars! | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Jars, Jars, and more Jars!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Jars, Jars, and more Jars!

I am starting a series called "I Love Freecycle!".  I'll post from time to time about things I've given or items I've been gifted on Freecycle.  It will be dedicated to all things Freecycle.

I've mentioned before how much I LOVE Freecycle.  I've given away lots of items after decluttering various parts of my house (especially when we cleaned out the garage!).  I've also picked up some amazing things along the way (like our entertainment unit and our TV stand).

If you're not familiar with how Freecycle works, it's kind of like Kijiji or Craigslist except that everything is free.  People post things they are giving away and other people respond to receive those items.  You can also list things you would like to receive and people reply who would like to give away those items.

Here are 3 reasons why I love Freecycle:

1.  Freecycle is a great way to help you clear clutter from your house.  Knowing someone else will be able to use the items you are giving away makes it easier to part with them.  It's a little more personal than donating your things to charities (not that there's anything wrong with donating!).  
2.  Freecycle also helps you when you are organizing your home.  Many people can't afford to spend a lot of money on furniture or storage containers and then they end up not organizing at all.  Freecycle lets you find what you need for free so there is one less excuse to keep you from getting organized!
3.  Freecycle keeps tons of stuff out of landfills that would otherwise be destined to go there.  Before finding out about Freecycle I would have just thrown out some of the things that I've given away on Freecycle and I know lots of other Freecyclers were the same.

OK, enough about why I love Freecycle in general.  Let's get to what I wanted to share for this first post in the series!

Lately, I've been keeping my eye out for organizing products like baskets, bins, and containers.  I asked for a few things that I saw, but I wasn't given any of the items I requested.  But that changed yesterday, when I picked up these:

About two dozen jars and lids!  For free :)  There were a few larger Mason jars and a lot of medium and small Bernardin jam jars.  And just look at how pretty the lids are:

There are some regular plain old jar lids too but I love the pretty patterns on these!  There are even a bunch of extra lids that were still in packages (I guess the person who Freecycled them to me must have bought extras but then never used them - I can relate to that!).

So you may be wondering why I'm excited about all these jars.  It's not really jam-making season (and if you've been following my blog or know me at all you may have noticed I've never mentioned making jam!).  I did make jam a few times several years ago, but no, I'm not planning to use these for jam.

What else can small or medium jars be used for?  Here are a few ideas I've seen:

1.  Craft supplies - beads, buttons, yarn, string, paint brushes
2.  Hardware - screws, nails, nuts & bolts, small tools
3.  Leftover paint - small quantities like I had in my post Purging and Storing Leftover Paint
4.  Cosmetic supplies - cotton balls, Q-tips, make-up brushes
5.  School supplies - pencils, pens, markers, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, rulers
6.  Drinking glasses - for parties, baby showers, special occasions, or just whenever because they're neat :) 

I will likely use some of these jars for the above items as I continue to organize the rest of my house.

But, the main thing I'm planning to use them for in the near future is my kitchen.   I'm planning to organize my kitchen cupboards and pantry and will use these jars as I do.

I've seen so many pretty pantries and kitchen cupboards with beautiful matching glass or plastic canisters and it makes it so much easier to see what you have.

But buying lots of canisters is not in my budget right now.  I really wanted to do something though instead of having lots of different bags and boxes.

So, I'm going to use these jars and several mason jars that I had left over after we made our Gifts In A Jar gifts for the kids' teachers in June.

I'll put baking ingredients, boxed goods, snacks, etc. in my jars.  It will help keep everything fresher and will allow me see when I'm getting low on something.  And it will look more uniform than all the various bags and boxes currently in my cupboards.  Plus, those lids will help make everything even prettier :)

Stay tuned for the results... [Update: click these links to see how I used some of these lids in my pantry, some of the small jars in my desk drawers, and some of both the lids and jars for simple Christmas gifts!]

In the meantime, here's one more pretty picture!

What kinds of things do you use jars for?

What's the best thing you've ever found on Freecycle (or a thrift store/garage sale)?  Let me know and maybe I'll feature you in a future post in the series!

Happy organizing!

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