It is the last week of the Clear the Clutter Challenge. We are wrapping up this 8 week series with garage organization. Today, I am tackling a specific project that might be in your garage or basement which is paint can storage. If you have a bunch of paint cans that you do not know what to do with, this is the challenge for you! This post will include what to do with old paint including how to store it and how to dispose of unwanted paint.

What to do with old paint cans #disposal #organization #storage

Clear the Clutter Week 8: Garage Organization (Paint Storage)

Today, we are talking about what to do with leftover or old paint. This topic is part of the 8 Week Clear the Clutter Series.

If you are just stopping by for the first time, Welcome! We are decluttering our entire home in 8 weeks. We are on Week EIGHT of the Challenge and we are organizing our garages. For all the details of the Clear the Clutter Challenge START HERE!

For more details on all of the projects we have covered in this Challenge, stick around to the end of the post!

How to Organize Paint Cans

Chances are, if you have been in a home for a while, you have accumulated some cans of paint! You may have wondered what to do with leftover paint. It seems wasteful to get rid of it especially if you plan to do touch ups. Or you might have another paint project in the future. So, how do you organize your paint cans?

First things first, you will want to go through your paint cans and decide which ones to keep. You do not need to keep every can of paint from every project. We found that we had paint cans in our garage that were from the previous owners of our home. It seems that no one likes to let go of old paint!

Organize your paint cans into 3 categories:

  • Good paint you plan to use for future projects
  • Paint you are saving for touch ups
  • Paint that is no longer good or you will never use.

Each pile will be treated differently. So we will get into each of those.

Paint that is no longer good.

First, let’s talk about paint you want to get rid of. We are talking about the paint that has been around for many years and is no longer usable. Or it is paint color that is no longer in your house or you do not plan to ever use.

what to do with old cans of paint

How do you dispose of old paint?

One reason we tend to hold on to paint cans is that we do not know how to get rid of it properly. Many cities do not allow paint cans  that have any paint in them to go in the regular garbage. Some towns have paint can round ups where you can bring your paint cans in to the city dump on certain days.

Before you decide on how to get rid of your paint, be sure to check with your town so that you are following the city ordinances. 

If you town does allow for you to put paint cans in the trash, you will first need to get rid of the actual paint. You can fill the paint cans with kitty litter and once the paint hardens, throw away the paint can. Or you could pour the paint into a box filled with kitty litter or shredded paper. Once the mixture hardens, you can throw about the box and the paint can.

Also, check to see if your local paint store accepts leftover or old paint. Some stores will accept these and then dispose of the paint properly.

How to Store Small Amounts of Paint

The next category of paint is the leftovers that you have in small amounts.It is the paint that you plan to use for touch ups or that you want to save so that you remember what paint you used for a particular room. You will want to decide how to store the small amount of paint. You do not need to hang on to large paint cans!

You can use smaller containers to store your leftovers. This is a big space saving idea.

One way to save small amounts of paint is to pour the paint into mason jars. Be sure to label the jar with the name of the paint, date and the room it was used in. The nice thing about these clear containers, is that you can see the actual paint color through them!

You could purchase containers made specifically for storing leftover paint. We received these Plastic Paint Storage Containers from Dipsy Dabber. You pour your leftover paint directly into the containers. Then, you fill out the labels with all of the details. The best thing about way to store paint is that it comes with a touch up brush built right in.

how to store small amounts of paint #containers #products #paintsamples

So the next time you need to do a touch up, you can just use the included paint brush!

small plastic storage containers for paint

Thank you to Dibsy Dabber for these free storage containers.

Just like you do with large paint cans, you will want to be sure to store these small paint containers are kept in a cool, dry place in your home. In most cases, this will not be in your garage or shed!

Proper Paint Can Storage

Paint is good for around two years once you open the can, so keep this in mind and you decide what paint to keep. If you are keeping the entire paint can, it is a good idea to write the date that it was opened. Also, be sure to write down what room(s) the paint was used for so that you do not forget.


Where to Store Used Paint

With all leftover paint, you will need to be sure you are storing your paint correctly. Paint should be stored in a cool, dry place. You do not want to store paint in your garage if you live in a place with extreme temperatures (below freezing or hot and humid). The best place to store paint is in a place like your basement or utility room. Be sure to wipe down all of your paint cans before storing. Also, it is best to keep your paint containers off of the floor to avoid any potential for water or moisture damage.


Getting Started

Are you ready to get started organizing your old paint cans. It is one of the projects that you will feel so nice about completing. You will gain back some space in your basement or garage and you will have your paint organized in a easy to use fashion! The next time you have to grab some paint for a touch up, you will know exactly where to go and to grab what you need.

Looking for more organization ideas for the Garage and Car, check out these posts:

Keri is working on Car Organization this week! Also check out these related posts:

Inexpensive Garage Organization


Organized Garage on a Budget

Car Cleaning Hacks 

8 Week Declutter Challenge

1.It is not too late to join the Challenge. You can sign up at anytime and you will receive an e-mail each week for 8 weeks with the specific assignment! Sign up for the Clear the Clutter Challenge HERE. You will receive my Newsletter with additional VIP tips including a 5 Day Jumpstart Decluttering Plan! You will also receive two freebie printables: 28 Day Decluttering Calendar +50 Things to Throw Away Today Checklist!

2. Purchase the Ultimate Decluttering Guide.This 42 page Decluttering Guide is a compilation of all of the ideas and checklists from our Decluttering Challenges PLUS new additional resources. You can work at your OWN PACE. The Ultimate Decluttering Guide will give you the push you need to tackle the CLUTTER in your home for good. Order HERE.

3. Join our Clear the Clutter Facebook Group and follow along with us on Instagram!

2020 Home Declutter Projects

Kitchen and Pantry Organization (Week 1)

Living and Family Room Organization (Week 2)

Bedroom Organization (Week 3)

Bathroom Organization (Week 4)

Home Office Organization (Week 5)

Kids Rooms and Toy Organization (Week 6)


Other Posts You Might Like:

How to Chalk Paint Old Furniture

How to Clean Converse Sneakers


  1. Holly Breton @ Pink Lady on February 24, 2020 at 7:22 am

    Thanks for the tips Jaclyn!

  2. Dara on February 24, 2020 at 8:39 am

    We have all our old paint cans in a storage room in our basement. It’s kind of a mess, but oh well!

    • Jaclyn on February 24, 2020 at 9:26 am

      Ours is in the basement too. I didn’t realize that you are supposed to keep paint cans off the floor to prevent rusting–just something to keep in mind!

  3. christopher mccarthy on November 11, 2021 at 10:59 am

    We created an amazing charity to make sure no paint hits landfills.

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