How “Jar-Hopping” Saves So Much Space in My Tiny Fridge and Pantry

published May 21, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Glass jars with assorted pickled products
Credit: Martí Sans / Stocksy

Confession time: I have a hard time throwing out anything I see as being reusable. If it came into my home, and is durable enough to get a few uses out of it, it’s probably staying — call me something of a zero-waste trailblazer (or a child raised on conservation). What this really means is that I have a collection of jars, rubber bands, twist ties, corks, and other miscellaneous “multi-use” gadgets. But I’ve found that these items really do come in handy — especially in my teeny half-wall kitchen.

In my tiny space, I have a (literal) mini fridge and one three-shelf cabinet for my pantry. I cook every single day, but with limited space, this means smaller grocery trips and more creative storage solutions. That’s where “jar-hopping” comes in. 

Having glass jars of all different shapes and sizes (all of which originally came as packaging) — pickle jars, spice jars, candle jars, Fly by Jing chili oil jars, big glass Martinelli’s jugs — means I tend to have the perfect container for whatever my current need is, big or small. And when the product is used over time, I have the perfect container *yet again* to move it into. 

What I’ve coined as “jar-hopping” is simply moving the contents from one jar to another, saving me space, and freeing up bigger jars and containers for more appropriate uses. For example: About every other week, I’ll make a batch of pickled red onions and will store them in a big pickle jar; when I’ve used about half of them, they’re then moved into, well, a pickle jar that’s about half the size of the original. (Can you tell I’m a pickle fiend?). The bigger jar is cleaned and freed up for whatever I want to store in it next — be it my collection of bar matchbooks, makeup brushes, a propagated pothos, or pickled red cabbage. 

I do the same thing in my pantry and even in my bathroom. I was tired of seeing this giant container of oats take up unnecessary space within my limited kitchen storage. But fear not — I simply moved the half-box of oats into a smaller glass jar. Now, I can see exactly how much I have left and I have more room in my pantry. Win-win! 

Time for another confession: I’ve never purchased food storage containers. Yep, I rely on reusable packaging and takeout containers. Yes, it’s only me in my apartment, but I’ve mastered the art of using very little to hold and create a lot — all while saving money on storage solutions. Zero-waste, money saved, and space created. What’s not to love?