Purchase Only What You Need
It sounds straightforward, but if you purchase the appropriate amount of paint, you won’t have any unused paint to manage after the job is finished. To gauge the right amount, measure the walls and multiply length by height to estimate square footage. A gallon of paint will provide one-coat coverage for about 350 square feet. Don’t forget that windows and doors will reduce the overall area. Still stuck with extra paint? Here are some options.
Storing Unused Paint
Cover the paint can’s opening with plastic wrap before firmly replacing the top. Mark the can with the name of the room where it was used, and store it in a spot that won’t get too warm or too cold. Also keep stored paint away from young children and pets. The paint should keep for years unless it freezes, but always stir older paint well and check the consistency before using it.
Reusing Old Paint and Paint Cans
You can always mix together multiple shades of latex paint for projects where color isn’t an issue, or as a base coat. Once the paint can is almost empty, you can let the remaining paint air dry, or wash it out before reusing or recycling the can. Check your local waste removal/recycling guidelines before putting paint cans in with other recyclables.
Discarding Oil Based Paints
Oil-based paints are considered hazardous waste. To learn about proper disposal in the Pittsburgh area, click on one of the the following links. Pennsylvania Resources Council Allegheny County Health Department
Discarding Latex Paint
Another way to get rid of leftover latex paint, if you can’t find a place to use it, is to dump the paint into a container with shredded paper or kitty litter and let it harden. Once it is absorbed, it can be put into the trash. You can also dump paper or cat litter into the can if there’s only a small amount of paint.