Weeding Out the Canning Jars

When I visited Edna last week she took me into an old pantry area off of her kitchen. There we stared at an accumulation of empty canning jars of all different sizes. Some were quite old, of the type that had glass lids and rubber gaskets. Some of those were even old, green-tinted glass. Others were of a more recent style.

Edna admitted that her days of growing a big garden and canning the produce were done, but getting rid of the canning jars made it seem so final! So I asked her if there was any canning or preserving she would still like to do. She said she would still like to be able to make jams, jellies, and pickles to give as gifts. We agreed that the smaller, pint and half-pint jars would serve that purpose, but what should she do about the large number of jars that were left?

I made the mistake of showing her all the clever, crafty uses of canning jars on Pinterest and then she wanted to hang on to all of them! I said, “Come on, Edna! Just how likely are you to actually do any of that?” We settled for seeing if either of her granddaughters had any interest in having some of them for decorating purposes.

That still left a hundred or so jars to dispose of. We singled out the antique ones and set them aside. Edna thought she might like to use some of them herself to hold marbles, or button collections, or as a vase for flowers.

She ruled out trying to sell the rest of the jars but thought about donating them. She wanted to be absolutely sure that no one in her immediate family wanted them. Her children were too busy making a living to have any interest in gardening or canning, but among her grandchildren there were glimmers of interest in learning some of the old skills. She decided to check with them and if they didn’t want all of them then she would put a notice on Freecycle or find some other place to donate them.

Little by little, Edna is making her way through her house full of stuff and making decisions now and having her say over what happens to her stuff.

Harriet Vaughan

About Harriet Vaughan

I am a Senior Move Manager, working with Senior Citizens and their families when it is time to downsize or just make the home safer and more comfortable for aging in place. I help these people make decisions about what to keep, throw out, donate, or sell. I also offer workshops on "Getting Things Done When You Are Over 60". I write about how to overcome memory lapses and how to use your physical energy well. I have a degree in Home Economics from the University of Maine. I live in Coopers Mills, about 14 miles east of Augusta. I have been married for almost 48 years to my husband, Chuck Vaughan. Our business is called Legacy Years Transition Services.