Here are some container ideas:
- Clean up old spaghetti jars, salsa jars, jelly jars - pretty much, if it has a good sized mouth and is made of glass with a metal lid, it will work really well. Some tight-fit plastic lids work fine, just make sure there is a water-tight seal when you wash it out.
- Canning jars of every size and shape - check out thrift stores and rummage sales, as canning jars with the smallest chip on the lip can't be used for canning, but will seal up air-tight enough to keep your dry goods safe for their lifetime. You also will need rings and lids, which you may have to purchase separate (approx. $2.50 for 12 rings and 12 lids.)
- Clear 2 liter and liter bottles work well for 'powder' and 'small-sized' items that you pour out, but they can't really be dressed up much (A 2-liter bottle always looks like a 2 liter plastic bottle in my experience.)
- Wider mouthed 64oz juice or jugs are nice for beans or heavy bulk stuff you may have to lift up. Arizona tea and other bottles have handles built in for you!
- For liquid bulk, clean up maple syrup glass bottles, liquor bottles, or Gatorade bottles work nice, as these are easier to clean out than some other skinny mouthed long bottles
- Pretzel and 'cheese-puff' giant plastic containers are usually a nice rigid plastic with wide openings, great for things you want to scoop out.
- Ask local bars/restaurants if you could have their gallon pickle or olive jars. These I hoard like gold when I score them, because they really are the best size for bulk buys and the mouths are wide, so you can scoop in your entire 1 cup measuring cup without 'tilting'.
- 1 and 5 gallon food-grade buckets with tight lids (lids usually are for purchase separate, if you find the buckets from a restaurant) store your bulk purchases of bulk stuff. For the 'makes-their-own-bread-everyday' type.
- I collect little .5 oz jelly jars for the spices I literally use a tablespoon of a year - because I can buy a tablespoon worth at a time!
- Paint chips (any stiff paper would work), a sharpie, and electrical tape with the corners cut - try write in a cute serifs font, if you can.
- Get a paper punch in a shape that reflects your 'style', vinyl sticker or contact paper, and a sharpie. When punching vinyl, if your punch tries to chew on it, put some stiff magazine pages on either side of the vinyl and punch through.
- Paint on the container with chalk paint if it has a flat-ish area for a painted-on label. These labels have the added bonus of being changed as needed. Use masking tape to make the shape, or use a paper punch on a piece of contact paper, then cut out around negative space to make a sticky backed stencil.
- Have a label maker? USE IT. (Since you bought it, put it to work.) Sometimes, you can borrow a friend's for a day and just have fun. (I recall an episode of The Simpson's where Bart gets a label maker for his birthday and marks everything his.)
- Of course, you can also print off labels. Check out this gal's Pinterest board on just pantry/kitchen labels. Once printed and cut out, adhere them with modge-podge or white glue to your glass or plastic.