Remodel: How to Store Used Paint


When the painters walked away from our house, they left us with about 30 cans of paint remnants. Like most people, we moved them into the garage and did our best to ignore them, but in such great number, it was impossible to ignore the paint forever. Last week, I’d had enough and tackled the problem.

We knew that storing the paint in their cans wasn’t the ideal solution. The paint is exposed to too much air, and everything separates and turns into a gross goop. After research, the best, most cost-effective solution was to transfer the paints to glass jars. I poured the paint into jars, topped each with plastic wrap to prevent air from touching the paint, and labeled the jars with the paint name, room, and gloss type, if other than flat.  It was as simple as that.

What I learned:

  • When hiring a painter, get them to order minimal amounts of paint. I understand the desire to over order because no one wants to waste time running back and forth to the paint store, but in our case, we had several colors with full gallons that were either unopened or barely opened. It was a waste of money.
  • When pouring into a wide mouth bottle, like a standard mason jar, you don’t need a funnel. No funnel means less clean up.
  • Keep a minimal amount of paint. My urge was to save as much of each color as I could, but really, it will only be used for touch ups, and I certainly didn’t need a gallon for that. If something happens that requires a major repaint, I’d want to buy fresh paint then, anyway.
  • Look for cute labels with a free download online. I found mine here. She has other colors, too, but I love uniformity. Print onto 8.5 x 11 white shipping labels found at any office supply store.
  • Freecycle what you don’t need. I posted on our local freecycle and it was snapped up immediately. Our paint ended up going to a community theater to paint their next set.

The leftover pyramid of paint cans had been bothering us for months as it took up prime garage space, but now it’s down to a few pretty jars on a shelf. The next post-remodel, garage challenge is selling our old bedroom set on Craigslist. Wish me luck!


  1. We went with Revere Pewter in our master bedroom and I *love* it! Not sure I would have been so brave if it wasn’t for your lovely photos.

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