Glass jars are my favorite, and the quart-sized Ball jar or Mason jar is the main one I reach for. I also have some old jam jars with red gingham lids that my friends gave me when they moved to Abu Dhabi, they are great for smaller amounts, so there is less air in the jar to cause oxidation.
My friend Kris of Reindeer Bridge Herbs on Martha’s Vineyard keeps hers in 1/2 gallon jars in a beautiful case – across from a window. When I asked her about light and extra air in the jars, she said that she moves through the herbs quickly enough to store them that way. Since I’m just using them for my family mostly, I keep them out of the light and with as little air as possible, without getting nutty about it. I don’t use them up as quickly as her shop does, and I want to keep the quality high for years.
It is a lot easier to store something all in one size, and I think prettier too with the repetition, but many herbs I just don’t use that much of, like Goldenseal, or I use a ton of, like Lemonbalm or Spearmint or Chamomile. So different sizes are necessary too.
Margie Flint talks about her herb closet in her book, The Practicing Herbalist. It is 12′ x 3′ with knee to ceiling shelves and a light that goes on and off with the door opening and closing. She also said that she broke down and organizes everything alphabetically now. It’s tricky – I have tinctures in one place, roots in another, dried leaves and flowers in another. And sometimes I just don’t know what I have or where it is, even with my little handwritten inventory.