using mason jars for storage

I think people either love or hate mason jars…if you love them, you will find ways to use them for anything.  I used mason jars at my wedding (because, who didn’t, right?) to hold candles and sunflowers.  After the wedding we used them for drinking and eventually preserving food.  It seems like there are hundreds of ideas for using mason jars, besides their intended purpose of preserving.

A few years ago David’s grandma gave us a bin full of glass jars that belonged to her and her mother-in-law.  We gladly accepted them with no real plan for using them.


They were all in great shape, with glass lids and thick metal collars.  I decided to use some as coasters for drinks.


They work well and look neat.  But we still had a bin of unused jars. I thought maybe I could use them for canning but a quick internet search determined it wasn’t a good idea unless I knew for sure the jars would seal properly.  Plus, any small cracks or nicks could cause the jar to break when heated.  We ended up washing a few to display in the kitchen, but the rest stayed in the bin until recently.  A quick note on washing the jars:  we used hot soapy water in the sink and let the jars soak if they were really dirty, like this one.  The glass lids were given a quick wash too but the metal collars were left alone.  I didn’t want to risk damaging them.

vintagecrownjarRecently I’ve been buying and receiving new glass jars for my kitchen.  I store stuff like pasta, oats and rice on the counter in the jars because I use those foods a lot.  When David and I started shopping once a month we were buying a lot more pantry items in bulk.  Some things, like pasta, comes in a box.  But other like beans and rice we buy loose from the bulk food store.  Instead of storing those dry goods in their bags I wanted to keep them in jars but I had no more empty ones.  Then I remembered this pin about using mason jars for pantry storage.  How did I not think of that before?!

Vintage preserving jars are great for storing pantry goods, like dried beans and rice. They look great and give you easy access to their contents.


So I dug through the dusty jars to find the best ones and gave them a good cleaning.  These jars are in our kitchen cupboards, which are double sided and have glass doors on the side facing out of the kitchen.  Now whenever I walk by, I can see these pretties.  I may move them to the pantry in the basement, but we need to convert it from a standing pantry unit to a built in under the stairs…that’s another post topic though!

I like using these old jars because they are practical, didn’t cost me anything, easy to maintain and, best of all, were given to us in love by David’s grandma.  My family doesn’t have any heirlooms or items that get shared among members, so I love having part of David’s family history with us.

We were fortunate enough to have obtained these jars for free, but if you are looking to start using jars for food storage at your own home you may have to scour antique stores to find them.  Some of our jars date back to the 1920s or earlier, so similar ones might cost a bit to purchase.  But don’t fret, brand new canning jars are relatively inexpensive and can be found at a lot of grocery stores or small town hardware stores.  Well, that’s where I found mine for our wedding!

Are you a mason jar lover or hater?


About Christina

20-something; rural dwelling; wife to David; homeowner; pretty good cook; wearer of skirts; friend to all cats.

5 comments on “using mason jars for storage

  1. I loved your kitchen cupboards! We also store our dried goods in glass canisters, but not mason jars. I love mason jars and think they would be cuter, but we just don’t have space for extra stuff right now–maybe someday when we move into a house. I love that yours are heirloom, too!

  2. I am a vintage mason jar lover! Growing up I saw my grandmothers using them for canning and fell in love with them then. When I got married 33 years ago I scoured the thrift stores buying them up when I saw them. Most of them didn’t cost more than 25 cents. I use them as you do,for storage . You are correct in stating they can be quite pricey now.
    Thanks for sharing!

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