Paint is a much used DIY product in our home – and we use plenty of it! – but what happens when the painting is finished? What can be done with the leftover paint…
Questions start to be asked, like ‘should I keep the paint at all?’, and ‘how should I store leftover paint?’ – and it can be overwhelming to say the least.
Not only that – but paint cans can start to add bulk pretty quickly. Having different colours all over your house means lots of different paints.
Surely there’s an easy way to store leftover paint that keeps it well, but doesn’t take up too much room?
Well, yes, there is! – And luckily I’ve found it and tested it out for you – so take a look and see whether it’s a solution that’s right for you too….
Let me “paint” a picture for you (#sorrynotsorry!). Does this scenario sound familiar at all?…
- You’ve just moved your sofa in the living room, and while doing so you scuffed the wall – leaving a mark…
- You want to touch up that mark so that it looks good again (along with a few others you’ve noticed now you’re looking….)
- You head to where you keep your paint cans – and start looking for the right one.
- You *think* you’ve found it – but to be honest, the shade you used is very similar to a few others in the house – so you’re not entirely sure.
- You open the can only to find it’s dried out at the bottom and is unusable.
- You now have to head to the DIY store to get another pot – wasting time AND money in the process
- You are now at the store and considering a complete redecoration instead.
What started as a quick task soon ended up becoming HUGE.
Because there wasn’t an easy system for touchups that made it simple.
So – what’s the solution?
Basically – store leftover paint in a way that it stays good, is easy to grab and use, AND so that you know what room it’s for.
And before i go through the method I use in my own home that satisfies all those 3 criteria, I wanted to look at a couple of questions first – answering them so that you know you’re doing the right thing (this is stuff I wanted to know when I got started as well, so you’re in good company!)…
How long can you store leftover paint for?
If you open a tin, then it should be used within 2 years (unopened it should be good for around 10 years).
TIP – When you’re storing paint, always add the date it was opened on it somewhere. That way, you know when it’s OK until.
What’s the best way to store leftover paint?
Ideally you want to use a container that’s totally airtight, that’s easy to open, and that won’t affect the paint at all.
TIP – I like to use clear storage as then you can see the paint colour – which can be really helpful (plus looks pretty!).
So – now that’s dealt with – let’s get back to what I did for my own leftover paint…
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 really does refresh a room and make it instantly feel cleaner and new again – for relatively little work.
Trouble is – it’s a hassle (see the above scenario!).
This is what my paint looked like in my garage (or at least some of the various paint cans!): –
I needed a solution quick!
The issues with The current storage
- 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
The solution I craved had to:
- 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
I bought these glass 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!
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?
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:-
Where should The leftover paint be stored?
I had a great solution to most of my issues, but the last piece was to store it in the right place.
I knew that Paint should always be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.
This is so that the temperature isn’t too hot or cold so that it doesn’t spoil, and light can’t affect its colour at all.
As such, I decided not to keep the paint in the garage any longer – being as 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.
Instead I opted for a space in a utility cupboard.
Handy to grab when a touch up was needed, but still out of the way enough not to be a nuisance.
Great options for your paint storage project:
You can find out more about any of the items below by simply clicking the picture – where you’ll be taken to the shop it’s sold in. All links are affiliate links – which means that I get a commission if you make a purchase, at no cost to you of course.
This is the best solution I can think of to store leftover paint – and it works really well for me.
I can honestly say that it’s now a pleasure to do my annual touching up task rather than a chore – so I hope you’re inspired to give it a go as well