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Easy way to store leftover paint for touchups in your home

Paint is a difficult thing to store correctly – and as such it’s often sort of ignored. We paint a room and the rest of the can of paint gets put somewhere out of the way. The problem comes when its time to touch up any marks on the walls that were painted. This post aims to give a solution for storing paint in an easy, accessible, and pretty(!) way.

how to store paint for touchups

Let me “paint” a picture for you (sorry!) – see how realistic this is for your own home:-

  • Your living room wall has a mark on that needs to be touched up (well it actually has several marks that you’ve been ignoring for a while, but this one is SOOO obvious that now you have to do something about it – and touching up is cheaper than repainting the whole room)
  • You go to the garage or shed or wherever the paint can graveyard is in your house (you know you have one!)
  • You hunt through several almost empty cans until you find what you are looking for – or is it? There are several slightly different shades of cream/grey/beige (delete as appropriate) in your house, and it’s going to be a bit of a lottery as to whether you will patch the mark successfully or end up with a splodge of the bedrooms shade of paint on the wall instead….
  • After spending 20 minutes trying to open the well stuck down paint can lid, you look inside and all the paint is dried up at the bottom.
  • You end up taking a trip to the local DIY store to buy a new pot of the shade you think it is – or you give up completely having wasted an hour of your time…

It’s not ideal now – I’m sure you’ll agree!

Now that may be a long winded way of doing things, but it’s more than likely to be accurate.  I don’t know many people who haven’t dealt with paint in much the same way.

I was one of them as well, until I decided to get a bit more organised about the whole thing.

I really hate having walls with marks on them – but simply living in a house for any length of time means that marks are likely to occur.

As such I like to go around and touch up these marks on a regular basis (at least once a year). It refreshes a room and makes it instantly feel cleaner and new again – for relatively little work.

But what I hate about this job was all the faffing about in the garage looking for the right paint etc…. – and going through the scenario above.

This is what my paint looked like in my garage (or at least some of the various paint cans!)

paint touchups

I needed a solution and this had to incorporate the answers to these 4 main issues:-

Issues –

  • The paint cans were much bigger than needed as most of the paint had already been used –this meant masses of storage
  • I sometimes hadn’t a clue what paint was for what area of the house
  • You couldn’t see how much you had left, and whether that paint was usable
  • The paint cans that were stored in the garage were dirty and dusty and were hard to take around the house when touching up

Solutions –

  • Use smaller containers (possibly transparent) that are cleaner, easier to open and easier to carry around when touching up walls etc…
  • Label the containers with the paints name and brand, and where it was used in the house – so that all the information was to hand and it was quick to grab what was needed. (and also add the details to my home file in the decorating section)
  • Store in an easily accessible place that kept the paint in good condition

Simple really!


I bought these simple jars (available all over the place – mine were courtesy of ALDI), and some nice labels that appealed to the pretty side of me, and got pouring and labeling!

store leftover paint for touchups

TIP – with the old paint cans I left the lid off until they had dried out completely – and then took them to my local tip for proper disposal.

And what was I left with?

how to store paint for touchups // paint touchups

So pretty! – and easy to grab and see what I want now with less fuss and hassle.  I can simply pick the pot I want to use for touch ups and walk around the house doing the updates:-

paint touchup idea

Lastly I decided not to keep the paint in the garage any longer – a few years ago we had some very very cold winters, and during this time a lot of paint we had was spoiled by the dramatic changes in temperatures – so instead of keeping the paint in the garage as we had historically been doing – and now that they were looking so much nicer and less bulky to store –  I moved the jars into the utility in an out of the way but still accessible cupboard.

This keeps them handy for quick touch-ups, and also keeps the paint in a place that has less erratic temperature changes.

This works really well for me – and it’s now a pleasure to do my annual touching up task – so I hope you’re inspired to give it a go as well.

What do you think? Do you already do something similar or has this inspired you to give it a try? I’d love to know so please leave a comment below – thanks in advance x


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7 Responses to Easy way to store leftover paint for touchups in your home

  1. June Nov 4, 2014 at 12:37 pm #

    Thanks for this! I’ve just had a nightmare time trying to sort out our paint ‘collection’ and I’m going to use your ideas today!! Simple – just wish I’d thought of it (or seen your article before starting a wall with the wrong colour!)

    Regards – and thanks for so many useful tips and ideas! X

    • Chrissy Halton Nov 4, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

      Hi June – So pleased it has helped you – and hope it went well today! x

  2. Belinda Logan Nov 1, 2014 at 11:55 am #

    This is a great idea if you already have paint stored. As a regular painter – I always buy a tester pot to match the room colour I use and then label this for future touch up jobs – this way you get the paint brush thrown in too.

    Love all of your site by the way!!!

    • Chrissy Halton Nov 2, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      Hi Belinda – thanks for the lovely comment about the site – great top re. the tester pot as well – thanks for sharing x

  3. Peter Oct 31, 2014 at 5:10 pm #


  4. Alice Oct 31, 2014 at 8:20 am #

    I do this too, although I worry about dropping a glass jar full of paint! It hasn’t happened yet though… I always make sure I keep a note of the original paint make and code too.

    • Chrissy Halton Nov 2, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

      Hi Alice – yes, it’s a worry, but I’ve heard of the plastic holder on normal paint cans snapping so i think anythings a risk! x

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