Did you know that leftover paint is the largest material (by volume) picked up by hazardous materials collection sites, according to the Environmental Protection Agency? Not only does that unused paint have an effect on the environment… it’s one of those things we never seem to have when we need it! To avoid collecting unused paint in your garage—only to toss it out weeks, months or years later—consider trying out one of these five uses for extra paint.
Mix it up. Imagine this: you used a bright yellow paint in your child’s nursery… now they’re older, have transitioned to a more neutral style, and you’re stuck with a gallon or so of the flashy color! You might be tempted to get rid of the paint altogether, since you no longer have need for the color—but first, try mixing it with another color to produce one you’re happy with! For example, bright yellow with a nice crème or off-white may produce a more neutral, softer yellow perfect for a kitchen or entertaining space. Always be sure to try this before throwing away a color altogether!
If you do mix colors, be sure to only mix paints with the same composition (like water-based with water-based).
Save your color for emergencies. Your dining room, living room or bedroom might look absolutely perfect now—and let’s hope it stays that way!—but in the event that your perfectly-painted wall is chipped or damaged, you’ll want to have some of its color on hand to fix up those small patches of white that can show through.
Make an accent. If you like the leftover color, you can always try it out as an accent in your kitchen or bathroom—it can be a backsplash or entire accent wall, it just depends on how much paint you really have left.
Be an artist. If you happen to be an artist handy with a paint brush and easel, this might be the best tip for you—use your paint to create new art! If you’re looking to fill up a purple wall with art, for example, you can try your hand at a design using that purple. The end result will look good and feel more deliberate than hanging up your run-of-the-mill piece of art.
Pass it on. If you can’t even remember why you have a certain color of paint sitting in the corner of your garage, it might be time to pass it on to a friend, family member or someone in need. Let your friends and family know that you’re trying to get a certain color off your hands. To donate the paint to a good cause, you can try researching charities in your area that help to build and design homes for needy families—it’s likely that these types of charities would benefit from the extra supplies! Since latex paint can keep for several years—even up to ten—your efforts will be sure to be noticed by those who need help!