Our older son has several games and toy sets that contain lots of tiny little pieces. Most of them came from Goodwill and their original boxes were long gone. Or the original boxes were cardboard and not very sturdy. I wanted a way to keep everything organized and also be able to see what was inside at a glance, and I didn’t want to go buy a bunch of plastic organizing bins. I wanted to come up with a solution that wouldn’t cost anything at all.
In what would seem to be an unrelated occurrence, last year the almond butter that we buy at Costco started being packaged in a plastic container instead of glass. At first I was bummed – I’m all about glass packaging and don’t buy much that comes in plastic. But we like that almond butter and it’s a good price, so we tend to go back and forth between making our own in the food processor and buying the stuff from Costco.
Anyway, I went ahead and bought a couple jars at Costco when they first switched to plastic containers. And once we used them up, I was pleased to see how well the jars cleaned up. The labels came off easily and left us with a nice clear storage container – in plastic rather than glass. I have tons of reused glass containers that I used for food storage, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable storing toys in them. But the plastic jars (which I wouldn’t reuse for food) work perfectly for toys:
Each time we’ve used up a jar of that almond butter, I’ve cleaned it up and used it to corral stuff that used to be in ziplock bags in the playroom. They’re great for the boys’ craft supplies like popsicle sticks:
They’re pretty much perfect for what we need: They’re clear, so it’s easy to see what’s inside – no labels necessary. It’s easy for little hands to get the lids off. They were free, since we were buying the almond butter anyway and the jars would otherwise have just ended up in the recycle bin. And I think they look pretty cool all lined up on top of the toy shelves in the playroom:
What’s your favorite way to reuse containers and keep them out of the recycle bin?