Aren't jars pretty? I love jars ... any jars ... the new canning jars with squared sides and brushed nickel lids, vintage blue glass jars with zinc lids, large recycled pickle jars, small sample-sized jelly jars from holiday gift packages. We use mason jars for drinking glasses.
Here is a picture of my dry-goods pantry.
The top shelf has some recycle pickle or olive jars from Costco. I don't think you can see the tall, skinny pasta jar. I found it at a thrift store for a few dollars.
The middle row has a jar of coconut oil. I save those jars ... they are wide and hold other things well. Right now, behind that coconut oil jar is a matching jar with a stash of storebought granola bars.
The third row has square glass storage jars from WalMart holding rice, beans and flour. A small glass-lidded jar with a clamping closure holds coffee.
The big green-lidded gallon jars store salt, oats, rice, beans, and spelt. My mother-in-law gave them to me. She spray painted the green lids and baked the lids in the oven to cure the paint. I love them, and have used them for 15 years. If you want to buy gallon jars, Azure Standard sells them.
Glass jars are also safer than plastic (so much prettier too) for food storage. If you're using glass for dry storage, or for leftovers in your fridge, or freezer jam, recycled jars work. But for true shelf-stable canning, the real deal with lids and rings must be used for food safety. Even so, glass jars are a frugal and long-lasting choice. Canning jars are thick glass. I don't think I've broken one in the last few years. Recycled glass isn't as durable but you can build up a supply of recycled jars pretty quickly.
I've been using recycled applesauce jars for spices for a couple of years. I buy my spices in bulk from Azure Standard. With spices I don't use frequently, I fill only half the jar and freeze the rest. Onion powder or parsley needs refills often enough that I keep them filled.
Why applesauce jars? Well, they're the jars I've bought in the biggest quantity over the last few years, with a baby in the house.
They are a very handy size with a wider opening than some jars. Several brands are the same jars and lids, so you can even collect jars from different stores. They stack in a pantry.
The lids are white and go with anything, though I have considered painting them like my mother-on-law did with the huge jars. Applesauce lids re-screw easily, unlike some jars that seem to not sit right after the vacuum seal has been broken. A few years ago, I had hopes of using cute little babyfood jars for spices, but those lids just don't reset well.
The glass gives a shine factor to my kitchen. Food is the prettiest kitchen decoration, full of color, texture, deep meaning, usefulness, and beauty.