Canning Jar Storage Solution

by Tammy Taylor~

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Back in ‘the day’,  when I bought a bright shiny new box of canning jars, they came with a ready-made storage box.  When those jars were emptied and clean I had an easy way to keep them relatively clean in storage.  The jars were secure from breakage and separated by size.  I’d simply stack those boxes of clean empty jars in the attic.  When I needed canning jars I’d send RancherMan to the attic to fetch the correct size, wash ’em up and get to canning.

Oh where did those simple days go??  Now new canning jars are sold in what I consider an incomplete and unacceptable half box shrink-wrapped with plastic.  There are no dividers to keep them from clinking together or anything!  Of course you know I abhor the fact that there’s yet more unnecessary plastic being shoved down my proverbial throat.  But also I’m wondering how you are supposed to properly store your canning jars in those boxes?

CANNING JAR STORAGE SOLUTION - New canning jars are now sold in half boxes shrink-wrapped with plastic, I don't want to use them to store my empty jars. See what we did! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Contacting The Manufacturer

Although all canning jars seem to be sold this way these days I figured the Ball corporation was the largest manufacturer so I reached out to them and asked them about these dang half boxes.  I also asked what they would suggest to use to properly store their canning jars – maybe a specialized container that didn’t cost an arm & a leg?  They replied that Ball sold that portion of their business to a company named Jardin several years ago.  Humm….  wonder if that’s when they cheapened up the packaging in an effort to make more money for themselves?  More money for them yet less efficient for us, the consumer!

So I posed the same question to Jardin and have yet to receive the courtesy of a response.  Looks like I’m on my own to find a solution.  I did find an actual cardboardBOX manufacturer where you could buy these boxes,.  But you had to buy a certain quantity of each size that you wanted, and they were kinda pricey.  And you know pricey doesn’t fly at the Taylor Household.  Let’s put on our thinking caps…

I still have those few super-old complete canning jar case boxes with empty jars stacked in the attic.  But I’m going to need something to store these canning jars I’ve bought in the cheap 1/2 boxes.  Plus I’d like to also keep at least a canner-load quantity of jars a little more accessible so that I don’t have to ask RancherMan to shlep up into the attic each time I want to can something.  Perhaps I can come up with a storage method that would allow a canner load of each size of jar to be stored neatly in our guest bedroom closet.  Then if I need more than that I can have RancherMan fetch them from above.  Let’s see now, what can we use?

Finding An Alternative Storage Box

We have a few of the super-heavy milk crates (you know, before they started mass producing them in the more flimsy plastic waffle material).  So we thought perhaps they would be perfect to use for this project.  They’re easy to grab and carry, yet heavy enough to securely hold those empty jars.  So we brought the milk crates out of the storage shed and measured them to see if they would work.   They are the perfect size for quarts, somewhat larger than a perfect fit for pints but we’re gonna make this work!  (Note: DON’T try this with the flimsy light-weight crates you see everywhere these days!  If you’re looking for the heavy-duty crates, you can still buy the heavier ones that hold 50 lbs or more *here)  I repeat – I wouldn’t trust those lightweight ones you can buy at the discount stores…

So RancherMan brought out some corrugated cardboard pieces he had saved for various uses and marked them to the measurements of the milk crates.  He then went into his shop and cut them to size with a razor knife.  Then he came back inside and measured the canning jar spacing & cut notches about halfway down each piece of cardboard.  These cardboard pieces will become the dividers.

New canning jars are now sold in half boxes shrink-wrapped with plastic, I don't want to use them to store my empty jars. See what we did! #TaylorMadeHomestead - Canning Jar Storage - cardboard dividers

Then we assembled the dividers and placed the quart jars into the milk crate.  I decided to place the regular mouth jars with the jar opening facing down, but the wide-mouth jars would face up.  In the past I’ve often had to pick up and turn over each jar when looking for either wide or regular mouth jars so storing.  This way makes for some quick grab-n-go convenience.  PERFECT!

New canning jars are now sold in half boxes shrink-wrapped with plastic, I don't want to use them to store my empty jars. See what we did! #TaylorMadeHomestead - Canning Jar Storage - milk crate with cardboard dividers

Adjustments Made For Different Sizes

With the pint jars we had to work it a little differently, adding an outside piece of cardboard to keep all the jars tightly packed.  I’ll use that extra space on the exterior of the dividers to store the rings.  LOVE IT!  And the pints are the right size to double-stack in the cube so RancherMan cut a dividing piece of cardboard and TWO sets of jar dividers for those.  OMGosh I’m gonna love this.

New canning jars are now sold in half boxes shrink-wrapped with plastic, I don't want to use them to store my empty jars. See what we did! #TaylorMadeHomestead - Canning Jar Storage - pint jars with rings

Although we have yet another heavy milk crate that we could use for the half pint jars if desired, I usually have a pretty steady stream of clean 1/2 pint jars in my kitchen cabinets since I use them as single-serving jars for my homemade yogurt.   So for now I won’t bother with a separate storage space in the guest bedroom for them.  But we have that milk crate standing at the ready in the event that I end up deciding to go that route for the 1/2 pint jars as well.

I also printed out a label for each crate indicating the contents – whether quart or pint jars.  So if I send RancherMan to retrieve jars while I’m preparing the kitchen for canning it will be super easy for him to see the crate that I need.

Easy, Convenient Storage

Now let’s see how they work.  These heavy milk crates stack neatly & securely in the closet, Quarts on the bottom, pints stacked on top.

New canning jars are now sold in half boxes shrink-wrapped with plastic, I don't want to use them to store my empty jars. See what we did! #TaylorMadeHomestead Canning Jar Storage in guest room closet

Plus as I mentioned before, they’re easy to lift and carry a full canner load of jars into my kitchen.  And since the storage crates are located right here in the guest bedroom I can return the clean empty jars to this location as they’re emptied instead of asking RancherMan to retreat back into the attic searching for the correct-sized jar box to return them one by one.  Our attic stairs (and RancherMan) are going to LOVE THIS!

How do you store your empty canning jars?

~TMH~

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73 thoughts on “Canning Jar Storage Solution

  1. Rosie (@greenrosielife)

    Perfect! I end up stacking my jars in a higgeldy piggeldy pile in a box which is hard to sort through and leads to breakages. Not any more! #WasteLessWednesday

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      It works beautifully for me Rosie and I love that I have a supply of various-sized jars right in my guest bedroom closet. It’s reduced RancherMan’s trips up & down those attic stairs a LOT! ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Marilyn Lesniak

    My daughter-in-law cans a lot. I will pass this along! Pinned for later. Thanks for sharing at #OverTheMoon!

    Reply
  3. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com

    Still haven’t done this, but I think it’s brilliant! I hope by now you’ve had a response from Jardin. Love your grandmother’s solutions to storing the rings!

    Reply
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  8. Katy SkipTheBag

    What a great way to store them. Thanks for sharing on Waste Less Wednesday. This will be featured next week.

    Reply
  9. Susan in Louisiana

    I figured this out too, several years ago. Somehow I came across some heavy duty black cold drink crates (even though I rarely buy cold drinks), they are excellent for the 1/2 pints and also stack-able (the 20oz bottle crates hold 24 -1/2 pints). I put up as much as 5 – 6 cases of jelly every year for gift giving, so my cardboard boxes have never lasted.

    Reply
  10. Michele Morin

    Good for you! I’m still hanging on to the good old boxes which get more aged every year, so I’m going to have to resort to doing something creative soon!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’m holding on to my old boxes too Michele, but like you said they’re getting more aged every year. ~TMH~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Thanks Carole, I must say I’ve been pretty pleased at how it smooths out the ebb & flow of me needing or returning empty jars. ~TMH~

      Reply
  11. Lottie

    Interesting post. We just put the clean jars with rings on each jar in an Amazon box where they fit exactly. Sometimes we can’t close the lid of the box. We store ours in the closet in our guest room, also. Works out well. Wish I had the cardboard dividers, but the clean jars in the box do fine. After the jars are filled, they are stored on shelves in the pantry beside the kitchen.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I could never find proper-sized boxes Lottie so they were always jostling around and I know how bad it is to clink your canning jars. We have very similar use/storage methods – I put them on pantry shelves while full, guestroom closet when empty. When my crates are full I accumulate empties and send RancherMan up into the attic with them to store in overflow boxes there but this supply in the guestroom sure keeps him off the attic stairs for the most part. LOL ~TMH~

      Reply
  12. Sonia

    For the canning rings, I found a hanger that you can use for hanging several pairs of pants. One end of each “hanger” lifts up from a hook. I load my rings on each level and it keeps them neat, organized, and easily retrieved!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      That’s an awesome idea Sonia, thanks for sharing. My grandmother used to take a wire hanger (dang, do they even have those anymore?) and unwind it so it would open up. Then she slid her rings onto the wire and closed the loop. Or sometimes she’d take a long strip of cloth since she was a seamstress and thread the cloth through the rings and hook the loop onto a nail in her canning closet. Grandma was the pure vision of “Use Whatcha Got”! ~TMH~

      Reply
  13. Debs

    I love this idea! They make these in different colors too. I think I’ll get one color to be quarts, another color for pints and half pints. I suppose for half pints that one can lay down a flat piece of cardboard on the first layer and get a second layer of them in there. That’s such a cool idea! I was searching for a solution and of all I’ve seen, this is the best!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I love that idea Debs – different colors for different sized jars. You’re one smart cookie! ~TMH~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Me too Karen, but dang the manufacturers are making it hard with those crappy half boxes. I love this arrangement that RancherMan & I have come up with – it works perfectly for us! ~TMH~

      Reply
  14. Next to Natural

    I never knew they came in better packaging so I never knew what I was missing out on! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  15. Nancy Wolff

    Great solution to the canning jar storage problem! I have all sorts of random boxes storing my jars, I also have my mother’s old canning boxes! Now I need to find some of these plastic milk crates! Thanks for sharing your post on Our simple Homestead Blog Hop, I will be featuring it this week! – Nancy ( Nancy On The Home Front )

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I did too Nancy – some really REALLY old yet falling apart canning jar boxes, several random boxes I tried to fit into canning jar boxes, (but they weren’t exact so they crushed when stacked) etc. This solution works beautifully for us! ~TMH~

      Reply
  16. Danielle

    This is a fantastic idea! We have a few heavy duty crates from my husbands old job, but they’re the rectangular ones. Right now, our jars are haphazardly stacked on a garage workbench because I’ve yet to find a good storage solution. I’ll have to give this one a try. Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      This setup has helped us so much Danielle, I’m able to fetch & return jars without asking RancherMan to hoist himself up into the attic (unless I’m actually canning large batches) Love it. ~TMH~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’ve really enjoyed the different setup Shannon. I’m able to retrieve and return a supply of canning jars without RancherMan having to get up into the attic & haul down boxes. It’s worked beautifully for us! ~TMH~

      Reply
  17. Maggie Little

    Late to the game here, and new to canning so my supply of jars is not large, but why not make the dividers, and then use an empty half box as a lid? they do stack ok, at least here in no earthquake PA. Also, the lids to parmesean cheese jars fit the regular mouth mason jars.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Interesting idea Maggie, I might see how well that works for some of the jars to be stored in the attic. Thanks for sharing your tip. ~TMH~

      Reply
  18. Mimi

    Brilliant thinking Tammy. Thanks for sharing at Five Star Frou-Frou this week. I hope you’ll join us again? Love, Mimi xxx

    Reply
  19. Marlies

    I use to store all of my canning jars in the garage and then had to trip over things just to get to them. Now, they are stored in an old coal building ( our home sits on property where an old school house was) and bought a metal bookcase to hold my ever increasing supply. The canning rings are in a basket above a kitchen cabinet. I have another basket that holds rings, canning ladle, jar tongs and the like along with a crocheted dish rag just for canning. Love your idea with the milk crate!!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Thanks for sharing your storage methods Marlies. I had begun to obtain various boxes to store my empty jars, but then they were all hodge-podge sized and certainly not well labeled enough that it was obvious from a distance which box RancherMan needed to grab for me while up in the attic. Sure I attempted to label them with a large strip of masking tape but what a visual mess. I’m loving this method of at least storing canner loads of them in easily-discernible milk crates and for the most part I can grab them myself since this supply is not stored in the attic. If I need more he’ll have to hop up there & fetch them for me, but for the most part this will supply me and the crate refills as we consume that canned food. I’m absolutely loving this setup! ~TMH~

      Reply
  20. ella ruth

    Boxes that bananas come in have both a top and a bottom. I have some half gallon cans stored in them. I also bought a plastic can storage from wal-mart, it works good but it holds only 12 cans and cost almost $13.00. That’s why I have only one. Thanks for sharing your tip : )

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I saw those plastic boxes for canning jar storage too EllaRuth and wondered about them – they look efficient but expensive. They’re the reason I contacted the manufacturer – how dare them cause the consumer to pay $13 for a storage box to safely store their product because they no longer make their cartons appropriate for storage. But I almost buckled & bought those storage boxes anyway until RancherMan & I wondered if there was a way to use something we already had. Our solution certainly doesn’t safely store all my jars but between the milk crates and the few cases I do have, so far I’m doing OK. I’m soaking up other’s suggestions like yours too – thanks for sharing. ~TMH~

      Reply
  21. JES

    Just wanted to leave a note to let you know we FEATURED this post today on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

    Reply
  22. Kim (TheKimSixFix)

    This was the most popular link this week at You’re Gonna Love it! Looking forward to featuring you tomorrow! Thanks so much for linking up!

    Reply
  23. daisy

    Brilliant! Love how you even figured out how to store the jars so that you could find what you need in an instant. Just wondering if the boxes that liquor stores use would work too, for those of us who don’t have milk crates. The boxes that wine come in are usually thick cardboard and have the dividers. Just another option…

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’ve attempted the liquor store boxes before Daisy but it’s been difficult finding boxes with the right sized dividers in boxes that weren’t too tall making it difficult to securely stack the cases filled with jars in the attic. I’ve obtained them anyway though & cut the height down to make it work but… Someone suggested maybe mayo boxes from the grocery store & I’m intrigued with that suggestion, but I don’t know how accommodating a grocery store might be to my request since I’m being pretty specific about my request for box size, etc. Perhaps I’ll go in & ask anyway, doesn’t hurt just to see… ~TMH~

      Reply
  24. abedabun dawn

    I too made my own dividers for my jars. However, I have some plastic totes with lids (which is what I made the dividers to fit). Another thing I like to do is, I save my mayo jar lids (most will fit canning jars) and put them on the jars when I store them, which helps to prevent chipping of the rim of the jars. Most all my jars are vintage, they were passed down to my mom from her mom and now to me. I store them in the shed.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      That’s a great idea – our plastic peanut butter jar lids also fit canning jars, perhaps I should use them to top the jars stored in the attic for additional protection. I have some of my grandmother’s jars as well – those jars are precious, aren’t they?? ~TMH~

      Reply
  25. Marie

    This is a fantastic solution! The crates would be so much sturdier than just stacking all of my boxes of canning jars (which is what I currently do). Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      So far I’m really loving this arrangement Marie. Not only are the crates heavy-duty and easy to carry securely, the new location for a canner load of these jars is making it oh-so-easy for me to retrieve jars when needed. ~TMH~

      Reply
  26. JES

    Great idea! I was just lamenting about the new boxes last week to someone who was in the middle of a move and trying to sort through her canning jars… but she stared at me blankly… A bit too young to understand as she never knew about the prior boxes 😉 Yes, made me feel old (but experienced, *smile*.)… Anyways, I like that these can stack and are sturdy! Thank you for sharing this week on the Art of Home-Making Mondays!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I didn’t even think of that JES, but some of the newer canners probably don’t even know what canning jars used to be sold in. I have to shake my head and wonder what the manufacturers are thinking – I know they’re after cutting every corner they can to maximize their profits but I hate that it just means more unusable trash coming into my house while I look for another solution to store their product when not in use… Grrrrr ~TMH~

      Reply
  27. Julie @ Logger's Wife

    I don’t remember canning jars ever coming in anything but half boxes and I can remember my mom canning when I was a little girl. Maybe my memory is just going. lol. They did used to have the dividers though. I actually buy store brand canning jars. They come in a full box with the dividers so easy to store them. I like the milk crate idea. That might be a better idea as I sometimes use the boxes to store full jars as well (in the middle of a house renovation which is involving better storage space). The milk crates would help keep me from wondering if the box is full of full jars or empty ones.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I like the ease of grabbing the milk crate and carrying those jars securely to the kitchen too Julie. I’m smacking my forehead wondering why I didn’t do this earlier! ~TMH~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I think RancherMan’s pretty excited to have a jar-layover location so he doesn’t keep having to haul them up and down the attic stairs. LOL ~TMH~

      Reply
  28. Dolly

    Love that idea! At the end of summer all of my canning jars are in use, but come December, I have so many clean jars…without a way to properly store them! (I toss those half boxes right away lol). Can’t wait to try this method.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Those half boxes are so useless Dolly. Oh, and I still haven’t heard from Jardin. Apparently their customer complaints go straight to the trash just like their crappy boxes! ~TMH~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      He’s pretty happy about it too Colleen, it’s saving him quite a bit of effort moving the storage to/from the attic. I’m LOVING this new storage method and location, it’s perfect for me too. ~TMH~

      Reply
  29. Cynthia D

    I like that you use what you have on hand. I was wondering if mayo and food produces especially things that still come in glass jars still use a whole box with dividers between the jars. If they still do you could ask your grocery store to save them for you and ask that they not break them down. I have several cases of jars that I store in the old whole box and I use the 1/2 boxes for some of the newer jars I have, but it would be nice to be able to close the box.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      That’s a great idea Cynthia and I love that it involves repurposing something that would just be thrown away (or recycled) from the grocery store. ~TMH~

      Reply
  30. Judith C

    I like this idea! I store part of my jars in the half box that some 1.5 pint jars came in. I have a cabinet over the clothes dryer where I keep them (box and all.) Quarts, 1.5 pints and pints all trading places as needed in that half box. Then on a shelf above that are the smaller half pints and smaller. The lids and rings are all in an old coffee can. I’m thinking of having my husband make me a couple of small wood boxes to keep the rings in, so I don’t have to dig for them. I would go for you idea in the guest room closet but that space is dedicated to yarn. Also I contacted Ball jars about the spice jars. You know the little ones with the shaker tops. The shaker tops are a joke. They break. No matter how careful you are, the hinge part breaks. I too was told that they sold that product to Jardin and that I would need to contact them about the product. I too never heard a word back from Jardin. So…. I will just use my little spice jars without those fancy shaker lids. Problem is, if I want to buy more Ball Spice jars, they only come with the plastic shaker lids that break. One more useless piece of plastic trash. :-/

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Ugh Judith – what’s happened to customer service these days?? And I shuddered over your last statement of “one more useless piece of plastic trash” Grrrrr… ~TMH~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Yes ma’am, Margy! I’m loving my new setup and I know RancherMan is happy he won’t be up & down the attic stairs near as much from now on! Those closet shelves even gave me a handy place to store my big soup pots and canners. Yea! ~TMH~

      Reply
  31. Lady Locust

    Howdy, I love that 9 quart jars fit so well in a milk crate. I woulda never thunka that:) How handy and safe for extra jars – we always seem to have extra qts. & not enough pint & a halfs. I put mine right back on the shelf where I got them from. I just pull the full jars of green beans (or whatever) to the front and keep the empties rotated to the back. That was my solution to knowing where all my jars were & having only one space for them. (as opposed to in the shop, under the bed, in an upper cupboard, and so on)

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Sounds like your method is working great for you Lady Locust. You sound oh-so-organized – I’m envious! Thanks for sharing your jar storage method. ~TMH~

      Reply
    2. Kat

      another idea – if near a liquor store – get the inserts from them – they come in all different sizes aready cut! been using mine for ideas like yours, since I’m in the packing stage (house up for sale) – figured this out when I needed dividers for certain things – I use in many different boxes. GREAT IDEA on the crates!!! and neatly stored. I agree with you – shame they stopped packing those jars like they used to –

      Reply

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