There's an easy way to get organized in the kitchen -- and lower your carbon footprint, and save money -- by using and re-using something you may already have on hand: those glass canning jars often called "Mason" or "Ball" jars.

Yes, these humble jars have many uses beyond your last canning project. You can re-use your jars once you've eaten the last spoonful of homemade jam or buy some new ones to use for kitchen storage. There are so many handy uses for this grocery-store staple (you can buy them at larger grocery stores and at stores such as Target and on Amazon). Once you see the many ways you can put them to work in your kitchen, you'll want to keep a couple dozen on hand!

1.) Flavor Up Your Life by Buying Bulk Spices

Instead of buying expensive (and potentially old) pre-packaged, dried spices, buy fresh in bulk. Use small jars to store. Write the name of each spice on the lid for easy reference.

2.) Save Money by Making Fresh Herbs Last

Herbs In Mason Jar
Photo by Rebekah Molloy

Fill a jar halfway with water and place your fresh herbs inside, then top with a plastic bag and keep in the fridge to increase the lifespan of your delicate (and often costly) herbs.

3.) Save Time With Meal Prep

Chopped vegetables in a jar
Photo by Andy Lyons

An hour of vegetable peeling and cutting can save you so much time later. Use large Mason jars to store lettuce for salads, washed and trimmed green beans, cubed winter squash -- the possibilities are endless. The clear jars mean you'll be able to quickly grab what you need when it comes to the dinnertime rush.

4.) Spill-Proof Your Smoothie/Coffee To-Go

Healthy Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie
Photo by LilSnoo

Either pour your morning smoothie into your favorite-sized jar or fill it with fresh coffee before you leave for work. It's less expensive than those insulated carry mugs - and cooler, too!

5.) Save Money by Keeping Bulk Grains Fresh and Visible

Grains in Jars
Photo by Nicole Spiridakis

I used to have bags of bulk grains littering my cabinets, but after accidentally using brown rice instead of sesame seeds in a recipe, I decided to use my extra jars to neatly house my options. Not only can I clearly identify what's inside each jar by sight, I can also label the jar to avoid any other cooking mishaps.

6.) Ditto for Bulk Flours

Same goes for my various whole-grain flours. It's usually a lot cheaper to purchase flours in bulk, and I handily store my options in clear Mason jars when I get home from the store for easy access.

7.) Snack Healthier with Trail Mix, Granola, Nut Storage

Photo by Nicole Spiridakis

I always feel better about storing my homemade granola or trail mix in glass rather than plastic, and designate several large jars for this purpose. We also keep a large jar of raw almonds on our kitchen counter for healthy and easy snacking.