I use them for open-shelf storage. We have ZERO pantry space in our small, duplex kitchen. We do have a cabinet I use in the laundry room, but it is not connected to our kitchen - therefore it is not terribly convenient.
Instead, my dh bought and mounted (in studs) these wooden shelves from IKEA (love that store!). I have one vertical and one horizontal set. Yet I didn't just want to throw my food packages on the shelves. Not terriby attractive nor decorative. Someone mentioned using glass (instead of plastic due to the plastic not being as healthy/green/etc.). Yet I still couldn't just run out and buy a bunch of glass jars.
Instead, I waited. I was already purchasing some grocery items in glass containers, but I had always just thrown them away (terrible waste, I know). Salsa, pasta sauce, applesauce, you name it. So if I just waited for awhile, I would have quite the collection. At no extra cost!
I store all sorts of pantry items: split peas and beans, raisins, popcorn, baking chips, vital wheat gluten, milk powder, all sorts of dry pasta, even my yeast in the freezer is stored in a glass jar with a twist top!
I have even used old candle jars - they are in interesting shapes and have nice, air-tight lids. You just have to wash it *really* well and let it sit out a bit to get rid of the candle scent.
So there ya go: Glass Containers! Give it a shot!!
p.s. I have started using glass jars to scent my rice for my eye pillows. I currently have two jars, each with a different scent. The rice is soaking up the scent from essential oils. As I continue to collect glass jars from my grocery items, I will have to find creative ways to use them - any ideas??