My Top Ten Repurposed Household Containers

repurposed containers

I am one of those people who has a really hard time throwing used containers away! I’m not a candidate for the show “Hoarders”…yet. :-)  But I just hate the idea of throwing away perfectly good, perfectly reusable things. Especially when they can be so helpful around the house in other ways. However, there is a problem with my need to re-use/repurpose containers….I can’t stand the labels and printing that come along with said containers. If I can’t get the label or the printing off…I just won’t use it. I know…I’m a headcase sometimes. That is where THIS little trick has been invaluable! Thanks to the two busy brunettes over at 2 Busy Brunettes…I can now repurpose (at least yogurt and sour cream containers) to my hearts content! Since I go through a fair amount of these containers, their genius idea of using nail polish remover to take the printing off has me a little giddy. I’m repurposing all over the place. :-)

yogurt containers

But by far my FAVORITE way to use the yogurt (sour cream) containers is to pack my homemade frozen yogurtin them to give away to friends and family. It’s SO easy to make, and looks so nice presented in this clean, white container. AND it’s a nice change of pace from say giving a plate of cookies.

 

yogurt containers
So that is #1 on my list of my Top Ten Favorite Repurposed Kitchen Containers…..

#1 Yogurt containers

Here are #2 through 10………

#2 Juice bottles

These are my lifeline when it comes to making homemade laundry soap. They are the perfect container. Nice and clean looking and I like the way they look all lined up on my laundry room windowsill. :-) Once again however, I have to be able to get the original label off, or it’s just not going to work for me. (I wonder if there’s some medical term for this dysfunction I suffer from? I’ll have to look that up.) The nail polish remover trick doesn’t work here because there’s an actual VERY STUBBORN label involved….but my other favorite trick is using a big blob of good old peanut butter to remove sticker goo. Believe me when I say I have tried pretty much every method known to woman to get stickers off of stuff…and this the most effective/easiest in my opinion. Also works well on these smaller juice bottles that I use to store my homemade “Shout” stain remover in. I will usually make a double batch of the stuff and use this bottle to store what won’t fit in the spray bottle.

juice cartons

#3 Baby wipes containers

I think we could all come up with a dozen different uses for these versatile little containers! They are great for SO many things! But my favorite use for them is to hold my reusable fabric softener sheets. It nice for keeping them all in one place…and I think it helps keep their “freshness factor”.  Sometimes I’ll just open the little lid within the lid to let some of the “freshness” permeate my laundry room. :-) Oh, and as far as the labels on these suckers are concerned….. fuhgetaboutit! They are FUSED on with some sort of space-age technology! I have had NO luck in getting them off. So the next best thing……mod podge!  My new best friend! :-)  A couple pieces of scrapbook paper slapped on with a little mod podge and you have a perfectly cute container for a myriad of uses.

baby wipes container

#4 Mason jars

Did I mention this list is in no particular order or preference? Because if it WAS….mason jars would be at the VERY TOP! I use these for SOOOOO many things I won’t even begin to bore you with them, but here are a few favs. I keep this wonderful Detox Foot Soak in one of these BIG jars my sister found for me in Wyoming! I personally haven’t found them where I live…but they are so great! I also have one under my kitchen sink that collects food scraps for composting.

mason jars This slightly smaller jar I keep filled with that oh-so-versatile “miracle” substance….baking soda! I just punched a few holes in the top of the lid for those times when I just need a sprinkling of the stuff for scrubbing, etc.

mason jars

The next step down in jar size is perfect as a dispenser for homemade (or store-bought) liquid soap. You can see my super, easy tutorial on how to make your own mason jar dispenser here. If *I* can make one…anyone can. :-)

mason jars

Finally, the smallest sized mason jar (actually there is one size smaller…I just don’t use it much) makes a great container for matches.Especially when you add a piece of sandpaper to the lid for striking! This is such a handy thing. No more frustrating searches through my kitchen drawers trying to find one of those little boxes of matches when it’s time for lighting birthday candles!

     matches jar
 

#5 Parmesan cheese containers

The LIDS of these containers are what earn them a place on my Top Ten list. They are great for anything that you might just need a “dusting” or a “sprinkling” of.  Since all our meals have to be gluten-free here….I use quite a bit of cornstarch. And trying to pour it out of its’ original box always resulted in me being covered in the stuff! This is a MUCH better alternative! It’s also great for confectioner’s sugar, powdered sugar, and my personal favorite….cinnamon sugar! Also a perfect Goldfish crackers, teddy grahams dispenser! :-) 

parmesan cheese container

#6 Salad dressing cups

If you’re like me and you LOVE taking salads for lunch…these little salad dressing cups are ideal for toting the dressing. Even the smallest containers they sell at the store are too big for one serving of salad dressing (think portion control!) :-) But since I like LOTS of toppings on my salad as well…they are perfect for those as well!  Toasted pinenuts, shredded Parmesan, lemon or lime wedges….yummy! I suddenly know what I’m having for lunch today!

salad dressing cups

# 7 Stackable Tackle Box Jars

I love finding new uses for ordinary things you can find in your neighborhood store. I found these in the camping and fishing aisle one day…quite by accident…and I just love them! They are great for storing all kinds of things that you just need a little bit of for your purse or car or for traveling, like ointment, pills or lotion. I only recently discovered these…so I’m sure I will come up with a lot more uses for them! :-)

fish bait containers

#8 Ice cream pail

I find these versatile, plastic buckets virtually impossible to throw away! They are just too useful for too many things! Just SOME of the things I use mine for are for corralling small “kitchen collections”, such as cookies cutters! They’re also wonderful for filling with soapy water to tackle whatever cleaning job needs to be done….like washing the car. My kids thought it was fun if I gave them their own little “bucket” of soapy water and they could wash their BIKES with it. Anything to keep them entertained, right? ;-) But I think my favorite idea for the ice cream pail is one I read about recently that I thought was pretty brilliant…as a vomit box for car! lol. I’m fairly certain we’ve all had THAT lovely experience at some time in our lives. I even read one comment from a woman who said she keeps one under each of her kids beds for those middle of the night vomit sessions when kids never seem to be able to make it to the bathroom! BRILLIANT I tell ya!

ice cream pail

#9 Gum and Mint dispensers

There are so many great uses for this type of container. The gum container opens up all the way OR has a little spout opening as well, making it quite versatile. Great as a crafting organizer or for mixing paint, etc. Use them to store snacks (Cheerios!) for infants and toddlers. Keep all that loose change that resides in the bottom of your purse in one place where you can actually USE it. Also perfect for little girls to store all the little shoes etc for Barbie, Littlest Pet Shop, Polly Pocket etc. The mint container would be a great briefcase or book bag paper clips holder, emergency sewing kit, bead and jewelry supply storage, travel size spice container, etc.  The possibilities are practically endless.

gum mint containers

And last…but certainly not least on my Top Ten list…..

#10 Cans!

No decent Top Ten list about reusable kitchen containers could be without the traditional tin can!Without the tin can we would have a WHOLE lot less pencil holders and a whole lot less Mother’s and Father’s day crafts from kids. :-)

pencil can     pencil can
OK….I TRIED to stop at 10…but I kept thinking of other containers I like to repurpose!   Just think of these as a bonus. :-)

Bonus #1: Pringles and Crystal Light canisters

Pringles cans are perfect for spaghetti and lasagna noodles. One of the first things I try to do when bringing home boxed products from the store is TAKE THEM OUT of the boxes. I find my pantry stays a lot more organized and I save a lot of space if I’m not trying to make every different sized box or bag fit into my pantry. The Crystal Light cans are wonderful for corralling straws and for stacking cupcake liners. (If you’re like me…you have quite a collection!)

pringles can

Bonus #2:  Plastic Milk Jugs

This particular repurposing comes in SO handy! Fill an empty gallon (1/2 gallon would work too) milk, juice, etc. jug with water until it is ALMOST full. You’ll need to allow for some expansion of the water as it freezes. Place the cap on loosely and throw it in the freezer. (OK…you don’t have to THROW it in.) Perfect “ice pack” for camping, picnics, etc. I use mine a lot for trips to Costco. Since the Costco we shop at is over 30 minutes away, it helps to bring a cooler to keep the COLD stuff COLD on the way back up the mountain.

milk carton ice pack

OK….NOW I’m done. For real. :-)



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Comments

  1. Julie says

    In our kitchen we reuse empty lotion containers with pumps for a new purpose. We clean a lot with vinegar, but pouring it from a gallon jug is not always conducive. Filling the empty container, allows us to add it to the dishwater dispenser, a couple pumps to the dish water, on a paper towel to wipe down the counter tops or wherever it is needed.

    • cindy friesen says

      Awesome idea! I’ve always wondered what I could use those for! Thanks for the idea!

    • Cathy says

      You are my newest BBH….so creative……love hearing from you…..Thanks so much
      for great ideas for reuse ideas….I have lots of Lays Potato Chip cans, as I give my dogs one each when they come when I call…..wow…now I know what to do with them…..

    • Pat says

      peanut butter works wonders getting glue and gunk from labels, etc. off. Just a dab on a paper towel (yes I still use them) and a rub over the area. Usually just a couple swipes work. Thanks for all your GREAT ideas and the time you have taken to post them.

  2. Marcie H says

    We reuse our Spaghetti Sauce jars for various things, including homemade spaghetti sauce ;) we also keep one on hand to use as a grease jar so that it can be closed before it gets thrown into the trash. – Love the idea about the milk jugs for Costco trips!!

    • Pat says

      I try to keep at least one handy for making thickening for gravy especially at holiday times.

  3. says

    Jillee, these are great tips and I have immensely enjoyed your blog. (I’m a new reader)

    Please take a look where you have mentioned the following:

    “This slightly smaller jar I keep filled with that oh-so-versatile “miracle” substance….baking powder!”

    But the picture it goes with is labeled as baking SODA! I know how easy it is to miss a small error, and this is indeed small. Hope you don’t mind me pointing it out!

    • Megan says

      I was going to point out that discrepancy, too. Especially since baking soda is a lot cheaper than baking powder, so it would make a difference in the pocketbook if not on the carpet. ;)

    • says

      I don’t mind at all! Thank you Georgene. I have messed up on “baking powder” vs. “baking soda” before. I need to be more careful about that! (Or I need to hire you as my proofreader!) :-) Thanks again!

      • Sue says

        First time reader, very interesting stuff! Tons of ideas.. Was wondering if you have any ideas for repurposing acrylic tea glasses. They are very colorful but have some lines from being in dishwasher .

      • Rosie B. says

        I love the parmesan cheese containers! I have to give my husband a shot every 2 weeks .. after I’m done he bends the needle and drops it into container .. once it fills up he disposes the container. Never thought of keeping one with my sewing machine. Thanks for the tip!

      • Debbie K says

        The drugstore/pharmacy has “sharps containers” for used needles and other sharp medical supplies. Bonus? You take it back in full and get a new one for free AND the needles get disposed of safely. They should never be put in the trash bin.

      • Jody Wilson says

        Regarding the disposal of used needles: you can take that parmesan cheese jar filled with ‘hazard” sharps to a police station, hospital or doctor’s office for proper disposal.
        The real ‘sharps boxes’ are very inexpensive-like $4. So for me, and I am an RN, I just buy the sharps container and save money elsewhere.

      • Angela says

        They aren’t as commonly found anymore in the digital age, but I still seam to have an abundance of old film canisters. I drop my dull sewing needles in these, as they are the perfect size. One canister holds *many* dull needles :0)

    • Pat says

      My last jar lid from Parm. cheese did NOT fit any of my jars. =( New to your blogs. LOVE them. Thanks again

      • Tammie D says

        I have lots of jars from different decades and brands, the Parm cheese lids don’t fit every mason jar, but do fit several, it depends on how the glass screw bands (don’t know what else to call that part of the jar) at the top of the jar are formed.

  4. says

    Very good post Jillee. So many good ideas. Have you ever seen the 1 quart size plastic bottles that Maola milk comes in? I just think they have a nice shape and I’m sure they could be repurposed somehow.

    • Julie JOY! says

      What a great idea to use salt spouts on Mason jars. I am going to ask my friends to save them for me, since most people don’t go through salt very fast. (Although I am SURE I can find a DIY recipe that uses salt…just so I can empty the container out!)

      • Andrea says

        I like to put the salt into a mason jar to store. Now I’m going to include the top!

      • Donata says

        Speaking of salt, I find it hard to pour sea salt from the container it comes in, since it is not as thin as regular salt, so I just got the thought to use my coffee creamer container for the sea salt.

      • Emma Browning says

        My aunt did this years and years ago. She would cut the round from the salt box where the spout was and put it on mason jars and jars that instant coffee came in and other jars of various sizes for everything from Sugar to Soap Powder.
        I repurpose the plastic containers that Coffee Mate comes in for many of the same things. If you use for liquid be sure to wrap some plastic wrap around the threads to form a gasket to prevent leaks.

  5. Sara says

    We wash out any glass jars to store homemade soup in the freezer. I can send them in my husbands lunch or its enough for the kids and myself.

  6. Kristy Jevens says

    Great article. I love the idea of repurposing the parmesan container. I find like to reuse the small flavored coffee creamer containers for sugar. It is nice to just pull out a small container and add a teaspoon or tablespoon to a recipe instead of getting out the large canister.

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