On upcycling, or whathaveyou

I’m one of those people who has a hard time getting rid of things most of the time, because I’m inclined to imagine other uses for it.  T-shirts, for example, are CERTAIN to become t-shirt yarn and then fabulous folksy rugs, except that they are all different weights and textures and none of them is a color I’m crazy about.  But I have to store them for a couple of years before I can arrive at this conclusion and give them away.  It’s an imperfect system, but I really excel at it.

So imagine my husband’s surprise when he entered the kitchen yesterday afternoon to find me packing Bonne Maman jars into a big cardboard box.  It’s our preferred jam, and we eat a lot of jam, and when we realized a few years ago that the jars were useful for everything from packing kids’ lunches to serving gin and tonic, well, we kept a few.  Ah-hem.  They overflowed the glass-cabinet, and then we started storing them on the windowsill by the food-prep area, because it was so convenient for lunch-packing.  At first it was one row, then a second on top, and then a third, in a truly precarious and often artistic display.  A few weeks ago, our boys decided to stop eating our packed lunches on the two days a week they go to daycare, preferring to eat what everyone else eats (daycare makes fresh lunches for the kids every day).  And here we are with seven thousand jars and no concrete use for them.  But then I remembered some friends who may want to borrow them for glasses at their August wedding on the coast, and then I got to thinking about everything else you can do with them.  So here’s my list.  Pinterest style.  Be inspired.  Or entirely turned off this blog.  It’s up to you.

A whole bunch of things you can do with Bonne Maman jam jars:

  1. Drink out of them (preferably clear, icy drinks with lemon twists or olives).
  2. Store smoothies in them (remove cap; drink).
  3. Put frozen veg or fruit in them to thaw for kid-sized snacks at home or on the go.
  4. Pack lunches in them (pesto-pasta in one; cut-up chicken in another; peas in another).
  5. Use as votive-holders with glass beads, pebbles, or sand in the bottom.
  6. Use for terrarium: add moss, sticks, wee ferns.  Occasional plastic animals may find their way in as well.
  7. Use for aquarium: add rocks, water, and a small plastic sea-turtle.
  8. Catch spiders or fireflies or other cool creatures.  Examine at leisure and then release.
  9. Fill partway with soapy water and use as receptacle for Japanese Beetles, Tomato Hornworms, or other interesting-to-look-at but utterly unwanted garden guests.
  10. Use for vases, especially for simple, short, matching arrangements of daisies, for example.
  11. Use as centerpieces filled with small fruits.
  12. Fill partway with glass beads and water; rest an avocado seed halfway in the water.  Wait a few months and it’ll sprout.
  13. Use to organize office supplies; craft materials; small children’s toys; crayons; hair clips; coins.
  14. Wire them around the edges and hang them as vases or candle-holders.
  15. Use to store dried herbs or other non-perishable household items.
  16. Use to freeze pesto, if you make it in large batches; one jar, 2/3 full, is just right for our standard box of pasta.
  17. Use to freeze breastmilk.  I kid you not.  Those Medela bottles are pricey and this works just as well.
  18. Use in place of Tupperware for storing leftovers, making more room in your fridge.
  19. Make a sewing kit for a gift or for your own house.
  20. Make cocoa-mix gifts.  Or small Halloween candy jars.  Or layered soup mixes.

Or, as my husband points out, you could conceivably just recycle them.  If you were cold of heart and dead of spirit.


One comment on “On upcycling, or whathaveyou

  1. Sherry Sims says:

    Looking forward to your ideas of what to do with an empty windowsill!

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