With the recent incline in the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, the Malaysian government has announced a lockdown of the mentioned districts. Now, this is not our first rodeo. We had our first taste of lockdown back in March 2020. It’s obvious that another lockdown will significantly affect our beloved Malaysians, and we strongly empathise with that. However, there is some good to this CMCO as well. We flattened the curve once before and we can definitely do it again! Remember: after the rain, comes the rainbow.
Instead of dwelling on the negatives about another imposed lockdown, let’s try to focus on the potential goodness of it. And here’s a start. We have created an entire list of fun and creative ways that you can use your glass jars and bottles for! This is a great list for those who are looking for a project, such as starting up a business or decorating/organising the house or levelling up your cooking skills, during this period.
So, let’s get started!
1. Homemade Jams, Pickling and Fermentation
The most iconic and quintessential way of using a glass jar is by using it for homemade jam, pickling and fermentation. Store-bought jam is jam-packed with an unnecessary amount of sugar and preservatives. So instead of buying your jam, why not make your own! The process is super simple too. Just cut up a bunch of fruit, you can try using one fruit or mixing a bunch of fruits together, and chuck it in a medium-sized saucepan. Let that concoction boil down and add however much sugar you’d like in it!
With homemade jam, you can control what goes into it and you can make it exactly to your preference. The same applies to pickling and fermentation! Kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled onions, pickled cucumber are all made through the fermentation process. Choose any vegetable you want, make it last longer, crunchier and tastier by pickling it! It may take a few days to enjoy, but it’s well worth the wait.
2. Kitchen Storage
A go-to use for glass jars is to use them in the kitchen. They’re extremely convenient and efficient for kitchen use. You can use them on your counter and make your own spice and herb rack. They can hold liquids too, such as oil, soy sauce, vinegar and more. If you want a concise and continuous pattern in your kitchen, toss your bulk goods (such as dry pasta, rice, barley, flour, sugar and more) into some jars in the same design. Nowadays, glass jars are made with intricate designs and alluring silhouettes which make great display jars (for cookies, biscuits, bread etc.). In addition to all that, most jars are able to withstand cooler temperatures, making them fridge and freezer friendly and great for storing leftovers.
3. Packaging for Honey, Juice and Other Beverages
A great way to package honey, juice and other beverages is by using glass jars. They are sturdy, tough and air-tight. This helps with transport as liquids tend to leak if not cared for properly. Honey is a very viscous fluid therefore it easily pours out of a glass container. In comparison to a plastic container, it may get stuck on the sides and edges.
4. Marinades and Sauces
Marinades and sauces are liquid gold, as I sometimes like to refer to it as. They are rich with flavour that are ready to be soaked or topped onto your meat/meat substitutes and vegetables of your choice. However, making marinades or sauces in a plastic bag to place in your fridge is just not fun. Firstly, using plastic is not sustainable. Secondly, a plastic baggie is at risk of leaking if you don’t seal it right. So, ditch the plastic baggie and use glass jars or bottles instead. Find the right size for your marinade and sauce and watch that flavour soak.
5. Candle Making, Candlestick/Candle Holder
Candles are the perfect compliment to any room. In the bedroom, warm and romantic. In the bathroom, calming and refreshing. In the living room, cozy and relaxed. If you’re ever unsure about how to decorate, pop a candle on the table and it’ll work. But, candles can get pretty expensive, especially if you’re placing one in each room. So, try making your own candles with glass jars! You can experiment with different colours, jars, scents and mixtures. It’s a great home project with an even better outcome.
6. Natural Soap Making
A lot of companies are going green, meaning that they are making their packages more eco-friendly and creating their products with a more sustainable approach. Most soaps, shampoos and conditioners are packaged with plastic bottles and made with some unnecessary chemicals. Natural soaps, shampoos and conditioners are the new craze. You make them with ingredients that you can easily find online or in stores and they last you quite a while. Say goodbye to one-use plastic bottles and give your glass jars another use by storing your soapy creations.
7. DIY Air Freshener
Smell is one of the most prominent senses that we have. Did you know that our memories are strongly associated and linked to certain smells. Have you ever had a moment where you smelt something nostalgic or familiar, and it brought you back to a memory? Yup, that’s what smell can do. So, why not keep all our spaces smelling good and fresh by making our own DIY air fresheners, but as a solid form. The fragrance mostly comes from essential oils and fragrance, similar to an incense burner or candle. You can store it in a small or large glass jar with a removable lid for easier use.
8. Glass Spray Bottles and Dispenser
Typical spray bottles and dispensers tend to come with plastic packaging. And as you know, plastic does not have a great reputation with planet Earth for the past 20-30 years. They have a lot of tension between the two. With that being said, you can make your own dispenser and glass bottles, just by getting a spray head attachment or a dispenser attachment. Or you can find glass bottles that are made with a spray head/dispenser, which is very easy to find. So easy, that we will even link it here for you:
9. Sourdough Starter
Bread is glorious. There is nothing wrong with bread, it’s just absolutely perfect. Bread, similar to humans, comes in all shapes and sizes with different textures too. But each bread is perfect in its own beautiful way. You don’t need to be a professional baker to make bread, all you really need is the ingredients and some patience. A great way to get started in break-making is by using a glass jar for a sourdough starter. A sourdough starter is the foundation of sourdough bread. When creating the dough for this type of bread, it needs to be stored in the fridge for a while and what better way to store food than by using a trusty glass jar.
10. Overnight Oats
When you live a fast-paced life, it can be hard to get in your breakfast. You wake up, get ready for work/school/event and you have to head out the door. Sometimes making eggs in the morning or toasting bread takes time and time is precious in the morning. So, to help with that, give overnight oats a try. The night before, you prepare the oats and then in the morning, you’re ready to go. If you make your oats in a glass jar, you can just grab it and head out. A fabulous to-go cup of oats.
11. Cold Brew
For those of you who love coffee and are connoisseurs of the beverage, then you need to try to make a batch of cold brew coffee. It’s not that hard to do. It’s just a matter of adding things to a jar, leaving it in the fridge overnight and enjoying the goodness in the morning. A large glass bottle/jar is the ideal vessel for a cold brew, it can hold a lot of fluid and keep your coffee cool. You can save some money in the process as well!
12. Storing Soups and Making Salad Dressings
Sometimes you just want a nice bowl of hot and savoury soup. But soup is one of those meals that are difficult to cook only one serving of. Instead of doing that, why not make a huge batch of your favourite soup (chicken soup, miso soup, kimchi soup) and store the rest in a glass jar in the fridge or freezer. That way, whenever you are craving a bowl of it, you can easily pop the jar into the microwave. Salad dressings are a little bit technical. You need to emulsify the ingredients together to create a nice, rich dressing. Whisking is tedious and exhausting. So toss your ingredients in a sturdy glass jar and shake away. Simple and delicious salad dressing coming your way.
13. Terrariums and Gardening
Gardening is a great way to liven up a space, whether it’s home gardening or outdoor gardening. Plus, plants provide us with a lot of benefits for the mind, body and soul. Starting a garden can seem difficult at the start, but using glass jars to create tiny terrariums in the home is a great stepping stone. From there, you can advance to more creative ways to plant your green ones, such as using a glass bottle, upcycling old materials and more.
14. Herb Garden
Herbs are loaded with flavour, especially fresh herbs. The dried herbs that we buy from the grocery store is quick to use but doesn’t really do the job. However, when you go to buy fresh herbs from the supermarket, it’s quite expensive. This gives us all the more reason to start our very own herb garden! Either buy some seeds from a nursery or plant the fresh herbs that you bought in a glass jar. This way, you won’t need to run all the way to the store to get just *one* herb, you can just snip it off your garden.
15. Bathroom Storage
The bathroom counter can get a little messy with products, soap, accessories, shavers, hair dryers and more. But one way that you can make your bathroom counter fancier is by using small glass jars and placing your cotton balls, cotton buds, face wipes, tissues in them. It creates this really put-together look and feels like you’re in a hotel bathroom. Great for sprucing up the space.
16. Laundry Room Storage
The laundry room products such as detergent, fabric softener and bleach come in bulky, unappealing boxes. It can really take up space and clutter your area up. Regardless if you have a specified laundry room or a little corner in the kitchen/bathroom for your washing machine and dryer, storing your laundry goods in glass jars helps a lot. It takes up less space, looks cleaner and is more efficient for you to use.
17. Wedding Favours, Door Gifts, Gifts
Wedding favours and door gifts can be very mundane at times. People, typically, just take the wedding favours and toss away the paper bags and cardboard boxes. This is really unsustainable and wasteful. Rather than doing that, why not package your wedding favours, door gifts and/or gifts, in general, with glass jars. Your guests or the recipient is going to have more use with a glass jar and are less likely to throw it away. So if you’re thinking about how to package a gift then think eco-friendly, multi-use and sustainable; think glass, not paper.
A true phase of adulting is the joy that comes from organising and decorating a home. Home decor elevates a room to a living space, an area where you would actually want to hang out in. Plus it brings out the inner artist and creative designer in everyone. Decor has a bad reputation for being expensive, especially the “trendy” and “chic” items. However, you don’t need to break the bank. Instead of buying things from stores, you can make your own home decor items. Upcycle a glass jar as a vase for your beautiful flower arrangement. Paint a glass jar as a piggy and make a coin slot on the lid as a piggy bank for the kids. The possibilities are endless!
19. Lantern and Luminaries
Delicate and soft lighting is so romantic and has a great vibe all around. A great way to make your space more ethereal and dainty is by making DIY lanterns and luminaries with glass jars. Take a glass jar, of any size that you would like, and fill it with some fairy lights or with a tea candle/tea light. You can go the extra mile and tie a rope around the neck of the jar and hang it up for a fairy-tale forest effect.
20. DIY Instant Noodle Cups
Instant noodles are delicious and simple to make, but not the best choice for a meal. It has little nutritional value and shouldn’t be consumed regularly. However, a DIY “instant noodle” cup is the best of both worlds. It is delicious and nutritious! You can make a traditional Vietnamese pho, Japanese ramen, Korean kimchijiggae, Malaysian mee soto or curry laksa; anything you like! Just remember to layer your ingredients in the glass jar first before pouring hot water into it. It’s like an instant noodle cup, but much better!
21. Tool Kit Storage
Glass jars can be used for storage everywhere and the garage/workshop is no exception. If you’re someone who has a lot of tiny equipment lying around, such as nails, screws and bolts, then you might really benefit from adding glass jars and bottles to your collection. The strong glass prevents the dangerous nails and screws from penetrating through, making it safe for you. You might want to add a strip magnet to the bottom of the glass to help with easy clean-up or pick-up of your tiny metal knobs.
22. Arts and Crafts Projects
Lockdown proved to be a lot more difficult that we expected it to be. That makes sense because when you’re forced to stay in one area, your daily routine seems monotonous and boring. Hence why so many people picked up new hobbies and skills during the quarantine period. Art was a really big theme during this time. There are lots of arts and crafts projects that you and your family can do with glass jars. You can paint them and create beautiful stained glass art or you can fill them up with sand, marbles, stones. You can also try using glass bottles and making some abstract with it. Let your creativity run wild and free!
23. Sentimental Jars
Sentimental jars are a great gift and reminder for us! Basically what they are: they are glass jars or bottles that you fill with positive affirmations, inspirational quotes, profound and deep messages, heartfelt notes, happy moments, gratitude memos and more. The idea is that when you are feeling very positive and happy, you take a moment and write it down and place it in the jar. On the days when you feel low or down, you can open the jar and read something positive to lift your spirits. You can also stuff the jar with date night ideas (such as going out to eat, going on a road trip, starting an adventure etc.) or bonding time with friends ideas. You can come up with whatever you like. But it’s a great way to alleviate boredom and redundant ideas. Give it a try!
24. Personalised Glass and Bottles
One of the best things is having something that is personalised for you. I think we can all relate. We love having our names or initials branded on a cup, piece of clothing, accessory and more. It just makes it extra special and close to the heart. Therefore, if you are looking for something to give your loved ones, try making a personalised glass or bottle for them. Personalise it for them as you like and watch the recipient burst with joy and happiness.
25. Organisational Tools
Organising can be overwhelming. Things need to be categorised and placed in specific positions, it has to look clean and proper and so on. However, you cannot disagree that after organising an area, it’s one of the most satisfying experiences when you see the final result. Absolutely splendid. Make things easier for yourself and use glass jars or bottles to organise your space. Whether it’s the office or the bedroom, you can use a glass jar to store just about anything. You can put rings, bobby pins and hair accessories in separate tiny jars, you can keep your markers, pens and highlighters in jars. When you put it all together, it will seem like you hired a professional organiser.
Written by @DrFatinDaud
Dr Fatin Najwa binti Daud is a junior doctor, content creator and copywriter residing in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She previously worked in marketing, specifically digital marketing, and business development. Dr Fatin is highly passionate about medicine and education. Her other interests include activism, humanitarian work, fashion and sports. You can find Dr Fatin Daud on LinkedIn.