The Last Thing You Should Do with a Pickle Jar Before You Recycle It

published Aug 3, 2022
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Empty pickle jar on countertop.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Junk drawers are the bane of many kitchens. They hold all of the random stuff that either doesn’t really have another place in the house or that you need to have handy — just in case.

My own junk drawer often turns into a jumbled mess. Nothing short of emptying it completely, sorting through everything, and tossing or categorizing each item brings it back into order. In the meantime, it’s hard to find anything I need and my junk drawer is a wasteland of odds and ends that are useless in their inaccessibility. 

This hampers efficiency in the kitchen. Luckily, I have a solution! For little odds and ends, such as everyday paper clips and rubber bands, I like to upcycle one of my favorite types of glass jars — yep, it’s a pickle jar!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Use an empty pickle jar to store your rubber bands and binder clips.

Why a pickle jar? Well, I love them because they tend to be wider than many other glass jars, which makes them pretty ideal for storing office supplies I often use for kitchen organization.

Best of all, it’s pretty easy to do! To prepare the jars for use, I first rinse the glass jars out throughly. (Because no one wants rubber bands smelling like pickles!). Then, I like to completely remove the labels and sticky residue from the jar. My favorite method is the OxiClean soaking method, which lifts labels with zero effort and makes sticky residue practically slide off the glass. 

Here are some of the handy items you can put in your kitchen’s pickle-jar-turned-storage-container. 

Credit: Patty Catalano
  • Masking tape or pre-printed labels: A small roll of masking tape is great for impromptu labeling of food storage containers. Simply rip off a piece and use a Sharpie to write on the contents or the date. If you have a roll of sticker labels you use often for spices or homemade jams, just store it right in your pickle jar. That way no more scrounging around in the junk drawer for supplies.
Credit: Joe Lingeman
  • Rubber bands: Rubber bands are my go-to for sealing bags of partially used frozen veggies. Chip clips are too bulky, and filling a zip-top bag feels time-consuming and wasteful. Plus, did you know heavy-duty rubber bands are a whiz at opening tightly sealed food jars?
Credit: Joe Lingeman
  • Push pins or chalk: If you keep a command center with a bulletin board in your kitchen (you know, for all those busy schedules), a pickle jar is perfect for holding all of your family’s push pins or pieces of chalk. Bonus: Chalk is also a good remedy to treat oily laundry stains.
  • Binder clips: Binder clips are a small but mighty workhorse in the kitchen. Let us count the ways: They are useful for sealing and hanging chip or snack bags from wire pantry shelves (so much better than those chip clips!), they make it easy to close up a half-used bag of spices, and they can even be used to easily label freezer shelves. Know what else they’re good for? Closing cereal bags for freshness and hanging dish gloves on cabinet hooks.

Whatever you end up using your inexpensive office supplies for, just know they are versatile and a great way to bring more order into your kitchen. And a pickle jar is one of the easiest ways to keep them all in one place to maximize their usefulness.

How do you upcycle your pickle jars? Tell us your tips in the comments below.