Organizing – Storing Left Over Paint…Yes It Can Be Done – Part I

From the Desk of Clearissa’s Command Center/Divinely Organized


Organization:  Storing Paint – The Problem 

I was perusing the Home Made Simple site when I ran across an article by  Jennifer Lifford. The article was about storing left over paint and I made an immediate halt for some in-depth reading. The reason this article was so interesting to me is because I am on the verge of redoing my project closet. I have a storage closet in my entry that houses all of my left over paint. I can not bear to part with it because leftover paint comes in handy for so many DIY projects and sometimes you come up with a signature color by mixing some of your paints yourself. Of course that color would be difficult to duplicate, but it could be beautiful and practical if used on small pieces or as a base for a shabby chic piece that will be sanded to show the underlying color. Any who, I bought a case of mason jars in two sizes –  small  (pint) for tiny amounts of left over paint and large (quart) sized for cans with a little more left inside. Once I began the project I realized I will have to go back to the store to purchase more of the larger sized jars.  However, I thought that these jars would be the perfect storage for left over paint and I figured I could carry the theme even further if I used mason jars to hold smaller item, such as left over drawer pulls, paint brushes, etc. I think I’m on to something here. I may use tags and ribbon or burlap to attach the paint recipes. The fact that mason jars are air tight makes this a win-win project. A definite win for effectiveness and practicality and a win for cutesy as well.

Since this is a project in the works, I will share the before picture of my project closet as it is today (don’t judge me I’m a work in progress 🙂 ) and also 4 of Jennifer’s other tips for storing paints. Stay tuned for more on my project closet early next month. I would shoot for a couple of weeks as a completion date, but there is a lot going on around here this summer. So I’m giving myself a little more time. Notice in the picture I have begun swapping out the big and space stealing metal cans for mason jars already. It won’t be long now. 🙂

 Ideas By: Jennifer Lifford

  • Step 1: Choose the Proper Storage Location

    While paints made years ago may have been able to survived a freeze-thaw cycle, the lower Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) paint products made today are unable to withstand these temperatures and will often become gritty following a freezing. Paint should be stored in a dry location where temperatures are above freezing and there are no excessive temperature swings.

o   Tip: If stored under the proper conditions, latex and water-based paints can last for approximately two y

  •  Step 2: Choose the Proper Storage Container

While you may be tempted to keep the paint in the original can, choosing an alternative storage container (such as a glass jar, a plastic air-tight container, or a smaller can) will help to prolong the lifespan of paint, and cut down on storage space.

o   Tip: It’s best to use a container that is just large enough to store the amount of leftover paint, which will reduce airspace in the container and help prevent drying.

o   Tip: When there’s a small amount of paint left in the bottom of the can, repurpose an old water bottle into the perfect container! Fill the bottle with leftover paint and drop a marble in before screwing on the lid. When you need to paint, simply shake the bottle and pour it out.

o   Eliminating air is essential, so follow these steps to ensure an airtight seal:

o   Cover the opening of the container with plastic wrap

o   Put on the lid ensuring there is no leakage

o   Turn the container upside down to allow the paint to create its own seal, as well as prevent air from entering the container

  • Step 3: Label Containers
    Label all containers with the room it was used in, the product and color formula from the original container (including the brand, finish and color codes) as well as the date it was opened.

o   Tip: Have the store associate print out an extra label when you purchase the paint, and use it on your secondary container.

  • Step 4: Check Stored Paint Before Using
    Before using a paint that has been stored for an extended period of time, you will want to check that it hasn’t spoiled.

o   The paint should be smooth and creamy and free of any foul odors.

o   Do a small test patch on a spare piece of wood.

o   If in doubt, take it to a paint retailer to have it examined.

o   The color of the paint may also fade over time, so be sure to color match the paint in an inconspicuous spot prior to touchups.

If you would like to read more of Jennifer’s article, you can find it here:

Stay Tuned for the Reveal!

Project Closet Before 1 Project Closet Before 2 Project Closet Before 3 Project Closet Before 4


Happy Organizing


2 thoughts on “Organizing – Storing Left Over Paint…Yes It Can Be Done – Part I

  1. Clearissa Coward says:

    I totally understand Amberjane. My shed is on the list as well, but it’s much too hot here now for that. Waiting for fall for that one. Come back Friday for the reveal. The project closet is coming along great and will be complete by Friday’s post. 🙂

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