Being a parent is a wondrous journey that is initially marked by the earth-rocking realization that you have successfully created a miniature, entirely vulnerable human being that you are solely responsible for. Once that revelation wanes and you become accustomed to your all-encompassing role, heart-swelling experiences such as witnessing your child achieve major developmental milestones and seeing the world through their eyes continually creep up on you and steal your heart. Could it be that these regular events are part of the grand cosmic plan to ensure that mothers and fathers won’t spiral out of control when faced 17,879 pounds of goo-caked laundry, inexplicably random crying that pierces any hope of enjoying even one solid hour of REM sleep and a mountain of empty baby food jars that even your municipal recycling service loathes? Unless you make your own pureed fruit and veggie blends — which for many is out of the question, given already challenging work and parenting schedules — there are probably hundreds of empty glass jars cluttering your countertops and spilling out of your recycling bins in a random week. Out of eco-desperation, you might be inclined to slip about 50 or so into a friend’s bin when he or she is not looking (better yet, when he or she is not even home) or pray that someone on Craigslist or Freecycle will swoop in to save the day, but there’s a better, far more creative way to liberate your household from the clutter. Yes, it will involve a little DIY magic, but before you know it, you may find yourself reinventing so many glass baby food jars in such unexpected and clever ways that you’ll be buying double the amount of pureed meals just to fuel your habit! (Psst… bananas are especially good!)

An affordable and practical storage system

Step one: Screw or nail baby jar lids onto the underside of shelves, making sure that you space them far enough apart to easily grab the matching glass base. Step two: Fill your empty glass jars with whatever bits and pieces you want to organize. Step three: Thread the glass bases onto corresponding lids. Step four: proudly admire your handy-dandy space-saving storage system offering a clear view of all the goodies inside. Crafters, chefs and garage dwellers will rejoice equally, whether you corral hardware finds, buttons, beads or spices. Conversely, you can avoid the screws and nails altogether by creating a magnetic storage system or a scaled-down shelving unit that easily accommodates 28 jars.

Miniature sewing kit with built-in pin cushion lid

Why would you make such a thing? Because ladies love tiny versions of household staples, that’s why. This far more durable container (compared to throwaway travel versions) easily accommodates buttons, a pack of needles, several colors of mini thread spools and a pair of tiny scissors. Besides being a great gift or party favor for the crafting set, you might scatter a few of these babies throughout the house so you’ll have an easily accessible go-to sewing kit whenever buttons leap off at random or seams split without forewarning.

Portion-controlled snack containers

With the presence of Bisphenol A in countless rigid plastic food containers, it is wise from a health standpoint to transition into glass containers, which offer a totally food-safe, chemical-free alternative. Since it is often challenging to know when to say when (at least in terms of indulging in snacks), repurposed baby food jars trick our eyes and stomachs into thinking that a scant 2 ounces of treats is perfectly satisfying. (Perhaps you’ll want to keep a back-up snack jar just in case you have a serious case of the munchies.) As for the concern that glass shatters, a quickly knitted or sewn fabric “cozy” will remedy that issue in a jiffy and make your snack attack all the more personalized.

Miniature terrariums

Beautify your household décor by arranging select succulents, bits of moss and other botanicals inside thoroughly sterilized baby food jars. The natural humidity generated in your self-contained creations will enable the green treasures within to flourish, but be sure to keep an eye on each miniaturized microcosm just in case, and spritz accordingly. Once again, this would make a fantastic gift or party favor for the avid green thumb or someone who just appreciates having houseplants around without engaging in serious maintenance.

Endless craft ideas for children

Whether you happen to possess the pack rat gene or you have older children raring to get their hands busy, empty glass baby food jars serve as a great foundation for seemingly infinite craft projects. Got soy or beeswax and a few essential oils? Then gather the kiddies for a lesson in how to make homemade votive candles. Want to teach them how to manage money responsibly? Then create individual piggy banks that they can decorate with nontoxic paints, pink paper ears and a squiggly pipe-cleaner tail. Other ideas include making treasure-filled paper weights that grandparents and teachers (hopefully) will love, light-diffusing nightlights with the addition of an exterior coat of decoupaged tissue paper, holiday-themed candy dispensers that can double as festive decorations and, of course, tiny little snow globes that will put a smile on anyone’s face come holiday time.