Mason jars are still pretty trendy to use around the home right now. And even if you think going to your neighborhood beer shop and sipping a local craft microbrew from a mason jar is the most pretentious thing in the world (certainly I have never done such a thing, especially not every Friday around noon with friends, nope), the truth is, you probably have a few hanging around your home; leftover gifts or an inheritance from grandparents. Are your mason jars sitting around, sad and unused? Let’s fix that! What can we use them for?
Canning. Mason jars were designed for, and thus are perfect for, home canning of fruits and vegetables. If you’ve never canned before, you’re in luck, as we live in an era where learning how to can is as simple as getting a starter kit for under $15 and using books, the internet, or friends as a learning tool. You don’t have to store a whole winter’s worth of food, either—a couple of jars of homemade jam is a wonderful treat or gift.
Drinking glasses. If you have a bunch of jars sitting around but you’re short on drinking glasses, why not just drink out of a jar? This idea is so trendy that stores even sell plastic “mason jars” complete with handles and straws, often in their summer-items sections. But if you already have some jars sitting around, no need to buy a cheap imitation—use what you have!
Flower vases. I never really use flowers to decorate, so I don’t actually own any flower vases. However, when my preschooler comes home with a fistful of dandelions or wildflowers for me, I feel obliged to stick them in water and display them for a few days. Mason jars fill this role nicely!
“Stuff” holders. Need a quick holder to shove all your pens and pencils into? Found a ton of buttons you use for crafts that need a home? Mason jars are clear and perfect for being able to see what’s stored inside. The glass is also fairly thick so they are less breakable than they seem!
How else do you use mason jars around your home?
We may not spend a whole lot on clothes. We may buy them on sale or in a thrift shop. They can be off brand names. We’ll do whatever we can (within reason) to save on clothing. The savings don’t stop there. We will even find a way to save money by getting more use out of our old clothes.
Damaged Pants Into Shorts
We all have a pair of pants with holes in the knees from working or playing hard. We can patch up the holes if we want, but I just turn them into shorts. I cut the leg off just above the hole. Then double roll the bottom of each leg to hide the frayed part. If you want you can even sew the roll in place so that you don’t have to roll it every time you wear your new shorts.
Old Shirts Into Night Clothes
Old t-shirts or dress shirts can find a new life as night clothes. For the most part it doesn’t matter what we wear to bed so long as it is climate friendly. We can wear our old clothes to be and no one will see that old stain or little rip in the hem. Little ones also benefit from adult t-shirts as night clothes. They end up working as full length night gowns depending on the clothing sizes of the child and adult in question.
Socks and Gloves
Old gloves or socks can be used as dusting or polishing mitts in the living room. They can be used as wash cloths in the shower. They can be used as craft supplies to make puppets. Pantyhose and tights can be used for puppets of coupled with a frame to make rackets. Socks and pantyhose both can be rolled and sewn into balls to go along with the homemade rackets.
There are things that our children out grow that we are fine giving away or throwing out. There are others that we wish we could keep around a little longer. What we don’t want is for them to take up precious closet space without a purpose. Here are a few tips to give purpose to those things that you want to stick around a little while longer.
Receiving blankets are basically large pieces of cloth and can be used for many things. In the kitchen I have used them as dish towels. They can be cut up, stacked in threes, and sewn together to make pot holders. In the bathroom they can be used to make wash clothes or cleaning rags. If you like the print on them, they can be cut up and used as quilting squares and warm your child for many years to come.
Some items of clothing, like baby clothing is too cute to give away. Consider using it as doll clothes for a larger doll. Children like having a large variety of clothes for their dolls or stuffed animals. Baby clothes are a perfect wardrobe for your little one’s stuffed friends. Other items (your favorite ones) can be saved for your grandchildren and passed on. Denim items can be cut up to use in crafting items such as jean purses or hair items. It can be used to cover a headband or make a scrunchy. They will reduce the hunt for matching hair accessories because denim goes with just about anything.
Small toys make great holiday decorations. Bunnies come out at Easter. Bears come out for Christmas. Any toy with a heart come out for Valentine’s Day. Or you can arrange your animals in Valentine’s Day sets. Small plastic toys can be made into Christmas tree ornaments by threading ribbons onto them and placing them on the tree. The nostalgia factor for both you and your kids is an added bonus.
I love to downsize. It keeps the clutter at bay in my home. In the past, I have been known to downsize too much and find myself having cleaner’s remorse. While it is important to keep my home clean and uncluttered, it is equally important to save those items that I will need later.
Whether it’s a screwdriver or a crochet hook don’t downsize tools. There may always be a point when you may need them again. Tools, be they utility tools or crafting tools, take up space and may not be used very often. When you need them, however, the last thing you want is to be without them. Find an out of the way place for them and forget them until you need them, but don’t get rid of these items.
I have heard the old adage that states the best way to get pregnant is to get rid of all your baby stuff, but don’t. All the things you used with your first child, you will most likely use with your second and third child. Some items may appear out of date, but still work just fine for your younger children. In addition to this, baby stuff can be very expensive. You don’t want to need to buy it two or three times. Unless you are absolutely sure you aren’t having another child, I suggest keeping the baby stuff.
In fact I recommend keeping two copies of banking statements, bills, and tax returns. Keep one paper copy and one digital copy. These items are worth their weight in gold and may keep you from spending just that. They prove that you have paid your bills, taxes, and give you information for the next time you need to talk to a representative. Also keep a copy of any confirmation numbers you may be given by companies proving that you paid. You may need them later as well.
I live with a pack rat. At first I have to admit that this really annoyed me. I was of the opinion that if I wasn’t using it, it could go in the trash or be donated. There was never a reason to keep old junk. Now, years after opening my heart and my closet space I have learned that my spouse’s pack rat tendencies are useful and often save the day as well as save us money.
We have two boxes of old cords. They come from all walks of life. We have gaming console cords, phone charging cords, extension cords, and power strips all taking up room in our closet. There are cords that are for modems and cords that are from computers and laptops long gone. Let’s not forget the many keyboards and computer mice.
At first this collection of wires resembled a writhing nest of really skinny snakes, and I treated them as such. Over time however, I have learned to appreciate these life saving and money saving tools. The extension cords and the power strips have been been great in the kitchen. This past week our fridge wasn’t getting power from its regular outlet and we were able to reach another outlet by use of extension cord, thus saving a week’s worth of groceries. It’s particularly good because maintenance still hasn’t been able to fit us in.
My spouse is like a child that has found a puppy and brought it home asking if we can keep it. The only difference is he brings home things like a truck’s mudflap, an unused mattress a friend was getting rid of, and car seats. Not the child seats. The bucket seats that come out of vehicles. In short, he brings home things that make me look at him sideways and wonder what he was thinking.
I have been wrong about these acquisitions as well. The car seats were welcome additions when we had just started out as happy, broke newlyweds. The mudflap is currently our door mat and works great as such. And the mattress actually fits our toddler bed. No need to buy another one.
The scary thing about my husband’s pack rat ways is how they have affected me. Lately when I look at things I am throwing out I don’t see as much trash. Instead I see potential.
What have you found useful around your home?
Once the little ones aren’t little ones anymore, there are a few things that I either have to find a new use for. The diaper bag has been one of my favorite to work with so far.
An old diaper bag makes a wonderful craft bag. With as many pockets as most diaper bags have, they are easy to organize. They can store paper or fabric, glue, glitter or clay. They can keep spill-ables contained, and keep them from getting all over the craft cupboard, or craft room. Best of all, it’s mobile, so if I need to take it to a different room of the house all I need to do is pick it up and go.
Diaper Bags can have a great second life as a swimming or beach bag. There’s enough room for towels and sometimes a change of clothes. It can carry water toys to and from the pool without them getting lost ( or fought over) in the car. The pockets are perfect for item organization. I am always able to find my sun block or bug spray.
When traveling by air I like to keep as much as I can with me. I do this because I hate it when I go to visit Washington and my clothes end up in a different state. So a diaper bag is the perfect carry on for me. There is room for my clothes, my travel activities and a few snacks or drinks.
I love having a Christmas tree in the house. We use an artificial tree so that we can use it again the next year. Lately, though I have been finding other ways to use our tree in the off season.
I have yet to meet a child that is afraid of a Christmas tree. Pre-lit trees are best for this idea. During the rest of the year a tree can be used to chase away the monsters under the bed.
Not just Christmas, but other holidays as well. I know of a few families that keep the tree up all year and decorate it for other holidays. It’s a fun way to get more use out of an artificial tree.
I don’t know how many times I have come home to find a cat hanging out in the tree branches like an over sized decoration. When I am in the market for a new tree I am honestly considering surrendering the old one to the cats. I don’t recommend a pre-lit tree for this idea.
I like free stuff. I like it even better when I can choose what free items I am getting. I love it when I can get something I need for free. These are two websites that help me do just that.
Listia is an online auction site, but instead of using money I use bids. I could buy these bids,, but I prefer to get them for free. I just watch the feed at the top, or read the different auctions. I can post an auction or Listia advertisement on Facebook for points. There is also a place on their website to watch videos for free bids.
The other way to earn bids is to put up auctions. When I do this I usually pay shipping and handling on the items I auction off, but only because I like other people to do the same. The amount of bids that my item sells for is the amount of bids I earn.
There is a huge variety on Listia. I have gotten most of my home decorations on this site, as well as gardening supplies. They also have clothes, games, toys, jewelry, and much more. I check this site before I go searching on Amazon for the things I want to acquire.
I love Bing Rewards. I didn't have to bug my friends to make highest tier. All I have to do do searches online, which I would be doing anyway. To make the most of this Bing feature, I look up all the trending stories that scroll across the bottom of the home page. I also look up the weather, the free daily credit and the articles connected to the picture of the day.
At this point in time I have redeemed six rewards. Three were gift certificates for Amazon. Two were for Skype credit. One was a points drawing. There are gift cards for other items as well as charities. The best part of all is I get a point discount on rewards because I made the highest status. In short, I use less points per reward, which means I get more rewards in the long run.