Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Why You Should Always Grab Glass Jars at Thrift Stores & The Many Ways to Use Them

I know I keep saying that I'm in my thrifting era as if it's a new thing, but I've been a thrifter all my life. I can conjure memories of walking through the Salvation Army with my mom at young enough ages that I don't remember much else. And garage sales were a regular past-time through my childhood. I loved going to them with my Grandma and getting some Tim Horton's while we were out - collecting little treasures for no more than a few quarters. 

The things I look for and the places I hunt have changed over the years, and in all my phases I never used to look at any sort of glassware. Now it's one of my favorite things to find! Partially because it can be quite inexpensive while being either useful or gorgeous (or both!), but also because there's a lot of sweet vintage pieces and even some valuable surprises out there!

In my experience, you can expect to pay anywhere from $.25 to $10 for a piece - the first price most likely at a garage sale, the second at an antique store, and the thrift stores fall somewhere between. Depending on your goals, there's something affordable out there for basically every budget.

So, you might be wondering...

What Types of Things Should I Grab?

My thrifting motto is that if it gives you a little thrill when you see it, that's enough rationale. With the cost being so low, what real damage is a $.99 treat yourself? Especially if you're saving something (that potentially has its own history!) from a landfill and filling a need or want in your home. 

The thing about thrift stores is that they only have one of each gem (usually), and if it's won't last. I sometimes see things hang around for a bit, but usually only if they're overpriced. If you love something and don't grab it right away - you might immediately miss your chance. the cart behind you, even.

I like to grab: 
  • the large-sized mason jars (bonus points for the flip top and vintage ones)
  • glass canisters that have air-tight lids
  • old looking milk bottles
  • intricate glass bottles
  • unique milk glass (some of the vases are a dime a dozen so I usually pass on those - though they do come in handy for gifting flowers!)
  • pretty vases, if they're something I don't already have shape/size/style wise
  • kitschy holiday drinkware (because they're fun!)
  • while this isn't actually glass: unique mugs. They're ceramic, obviously, but they're usually on shelves together and I'm a sucker for a mug. I'll only grab one for drinking if it's absolutely gorgeous (I just have too many), but sometimes one will scream "I'm a cute little vase!" or "I'm actually a planter!" at me and I'll get it for that.

Even when I put myself on a glassware buying ban, I'm such a sucker for a blue mason jar. I can't help it.

So, what should I do with these?

No joke: the possibilities are endless. There are so, so, SO many things around the house that need a container of some sort, and a secondhand glass piece is more affordable, sustainable, and beautiful than basically any other option out there. It's the trifecta of worthiness!!

I have a big list of the things I came up with off the top of my head, and some of them are quite specific because I plan to do them myself (and bought the perfect glassware for them, of course!) and I will come back to this post and link to the new posts I create as I get around to each one of those projects. Many are already in the works, so bookmark this and come back soon!

In the Kitchen:

  • Pantry Organization: dry goods, small snacks, pasta
  • Homemade Taco Seasoning (post coming soon!)
  • Sourdough Starter Containers (post coming soon!)
  • Refrigerator Pickles (post coming soon!)
  • Homemade Vanilla Extract (post coming soon!)
  • Dish Soap Dispenser (glass oil & vinegar containers are great for this)
  • Homemade Jam
  • Drinkware: cute vintage glasses, mason jars as glasses
  • Homemade Salad Dressing Storage
  • Spice/Herb Storage
  • Leftovers
  • Bacon Grease Storage (you can use it to cook with!)
  • Meal Prep Containers

In the Bathroom:

  • Makeup brush holder
  • Qtip Storage
  • Bobby Pin Storage
  • Toothbrush Holder
  • Hair tie holder
  • Homemade sugar scrub container

Around the House:

  • Votive Candle Holders (like in a mason jar, or other wide-mouthed glass container)
  • Vases
  • Loose Change Jar
  • DIY Disinfecting Wipes (post coming soon!)
  • Desk Pen Holder
  • Sewing Notions Container (buttons, pins, thread)
  • Homemade Candles
  • Store Matches for Candles or Fireplaces
  • Start Germinating Seeds in Them
  • Catch Fireflies, obviously
  • Make a TBR Jar for your Stack of Unread Books
  • Water Jar for Rinsing Paint Brushes (or store them in a jar)

I could go on and on because...basically anything that needs to be stored can go in a thrifted glass jar! I'm trying to get away from plastics myself (not entirely - I just don't have the discipline for that, but in every easily feasible way), and I love that thrifted glass jars are less expensive and more unique than anything I could get at a department store or online.

Before I set you loose to hunt for glassware at the thrift stores, here's a quick price guide:

$.10 - $1 for a thrifted Mason jar
$.50 - $2 for a small jar with lid/flip top
$1 - $3 for a bigger jar or glass container
$.50 - $3 for vintage/older glassware
$.50 - $3 for a pretty vase
$1 - $4 for a lidded/flip top glass container
$.25 - $2 for a mug

Keep in mind that your location and the type of place you're shopping will change this a bit, but this is *about* what I pay. Never go above $5 unless you're at an antique store! There are few exceptions. $6 or $7 isn't awful (especially at Goodwill - they are far more expensive than other thrift stores or garage sales), but only pay that if you truly love it and it's in very, very good shape. Don't settle at that price!

I have a lot of projects involving glass jars on my to do list (haha), so I'll see you soon with some of them! Happy thrifting! xo

Here's a pin so you can come back and see the projects I use my glass pieces for!

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