UpCycling & Repurposing : Mason Jars December 30 2013

Ever heard the old saying "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle"? 
It is a tried a true method for being aware of what you use and the impact you make on your environment.
There is one more "R" though that my family has always enjoyed using that kind of plays on the reuse side of things...


This word puts a whole new spin on the old adage, I think. So whether you call is "reusing" "repurposing" or "upcycling" they all are putting old things that would otherwise be garbage or recycled to good use first.

Instead of sending off your old plastic gallon jugs, why not find something useful to make from those old jugs? 
One of the best things around our house that I LOVE to repurpose are mason jars! It was something that I latched onto when I was still in college and trying to plan a wedding on a budget and began saving old jars to use as candle holders and vases. This simple thought turned garbage into something pretty beautiful! 
Salsa & pickle jars repurposed at my wedding

The only bad part about this particular experience is the glue and paper stuck to the jars. After reading a bit I found some easy solutions for getting all that goop off the sides for next time I need to repurpose one of my pickle or honey jars!

1. Nail Polish Remover: Apparently this will remove all the goo but considering the smell and the fact that I don't have it in my home I will use option 2.

2. Equal Parts Baking Soda and Oil
The resource I found used olive oil since it was available but any oil should do the trick. The method was to soak the jars in warm soapy water. Mix equal parts baking soda and oil together. Upon pulling the jars out from the soapy water place the paste onto the jars covering all of the gross parts and let is sit. The oil will soak into the remaining paper parts and loosen the glue while the baking soda gives some abrasion to scrub away the mess.


Oh where was this recipe when I was scrubbing jars in my apartment bathtub in college?! :)

I love to use my jars for storing fat drippings, chicken stock, honey wax, pens and pencils, drinking cups, and so much more!

What are your favorite things to repurpose around the house? What is the one thing that you throw away that you wish you could find a good idea for repurposing?