Purging and Storing Leftover Paint | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Purging and Storing Leftover Paint

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Purging and Storing Leftover Paint

Do you have a pile of paint cans in your basement or garage that are left over after painting rooms in your house?   You know, those cans of leftover paint that you keep for touch-ups or to use in other rooms or for other projects?  Even if you aren't sure you'll use it, it seems like such a waste to get rid of it.  After all, paint isn't cheap. 

Well, I have been keeping our cans of leftover paint for years and when we started purging and organizing our basement I realized they were starting to build up.  I knew I had to do something about it when I counted how many cans we had...

Purging and storing leftover paint | fromoverwhelmedtoorganized.blogspot.ca

We had sixteen cans of leftover paint!  It took up this whole old shelving unit under our basement stairs, plus 1 can on the floor (not shown) that didn't even fit on the shelves. 

So messy!  It was getting overwhelming and I needed a better organizational system for them.  

When I started going through these cans, some of them were nearly empty or getting rusty so I purged them.  That still left me with 10 cans of usable paint. We actually have 2 unopened cans of paint that were left over when our basement was redone after a fire a few years ago.  I'll keep those for now since the cans still seem to be in good condition. 

So, that leaves 8 other cans.  What to do with them?  I found some ideas online that showed people storing leftover paint in plastic containers or glass jars or new small paint cans.   Any of those options sounded better! 

I decided to get a case of mason jars and store our leftover paint in them since we needed to buy a few more before the end of the school year anyway (our kids always make "cookie-in-a-jar" mixes for their teachers). This was more cost effective than buying individually priced jars.

Here's what they look like now:

So much better than before!  

Before I rinsed and recycled the empty paint cans, I noted all the key information so I could make labels.

The colours look a bit different in the jars than they do on the walls, so I also made small labels for the lids to remind me which room each paint was from.

There was so little paint in two of the cans that it seemed a waste to use a whole mason jar for each of them.   I found two empty jam jars left over from a few years ago when I made jam so I used them.

I made smaller labels for these jars; unfortunately, the outside of the jars is textured so the labels wrinkled. 

So I removed the labels.  At least I know Avery labels stick well to glass! 

A little Goo Gone and they were clean.  I love Goo Gone!

I created a special label for the lids of these two jars that contains the information that was on the original labels. 

Aren't they cute?!

There's plenty of paint in each of the jars to do touch-ups and even enough to use as accents on other items if I got crafty :)  But it now takes up much less space!  

I'm storing these 8 jars and the 2 new cans of paint in a small cupboard in our basement kitchen that was otherwise underutilized.

And now I have a whole empty set of shelves that can be used for something else!  I haven't decided what yet... but we're still working on organizing our basement so I'm sure I'll find some use for it.  Right now it holds our cat's litter, grooming items, and cleaning supplies.  It needs a coat of paint, but now that I know exactly what paint I have, it will be no problem to find what I need when I'm ready to paint.

One more look at the before and after:

[Update: A reader informed me that light can cause the paint to change colour over time, so if you're storing your paint in clear jars, you should store it in a dark place.  Thanks for the tip!]

5 Tips to Help You Purge & Store Your Leftover Paint

  1. Purge any cans that are rusty or more than a few years old. 
  2. Be realistic about what you will actually use.  Unless you're a frequent DIYer or big-time crafter, don't keep a lot of paint "just in case" or for "someday".  It's just taking up space, which could be used for something else to help make the rest of your home less overwhelming.  If you don't have projects in mind then purge most of the leftover paint (just keep some for touch-ups).
  3. Choose a container size based on the amount of paint you are going to keep (small container for touch-ups, medium sized container for future projects).
  4. Label every container with all the details from the original paint can that you may need to reference later.
  5. Check your local waste collection guidelines for the proper disposal method of the empty cans in your area.  And enjoy your new less-cluttered space :)

For more tips on organizing your basement, follow me on Pinterest.

I'm so happy my leftover paint went from overwhelming to organized!

How do you store your leftover paint?  Have you purged your paint lately?  I'd love to hear your ideas.

Happy organizing!

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