Works For Me: Paint Jars

My real-life friend Kelly offered up this little tip for me to share with you.

(And can I just pause here to say that one of the things that works for me best is having smart friends?  Moving on.)

Kelly just had a bunch of painting done at her house, and she knew, with a houseful of sons, that frequent touch-ups would be required.  So before she sealed up each can of paint, she put a small amount of each color in a separate glass jar, and she labeled each jar for its specific room.

Now, when she needs to do a touch-up, she doesn’t have to lug out the entire can of paint, and deal with the messy lid.  She simply gets the appropriate glass jar and a small paintbrush, and she’s all set for a quick repair job.

Sheer brilliance, I say.

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78 thoughts on “Works For Me: Paint Jars

  1. Daiquiri says:

    Oh, that is a great idea! I’ll bet the paint keeps better that way too. It always seems that a 1/2 empty paint can goes bad in a year or so. Maybe a smaller jar filled to the top (less air in it) would keep better?
    I’m gonna try it! Thanks 🙂

  2. Domestic Spaz says:

    Not THAT is a great idea! We won’t be painting until the kids are old enough that they won’t wreck it IMMEDIATELY, but I’ll remember this for when we do!

  3. Nicole @ Life in Progress says:

    We do something similar by saving what’s left of paint we might need again in these Rubbermaid paint containers. We use the label to write the paint color and room name. The paint stays better longer, and I never have to pry off a rusty paint lid!
    I also wanted to thank you Shannon for hosting the WFMW carnival. It’s a lot of fun for us, but I’m sure it’s a lot of work for you. So, thank you – your efforts are appreciated!

  4. craftylildevil says:

    Boy, I wish I would have done this when we painted our entire house! Every room is a different color and needs touch ups. I am not looking forward to trying to find which paint I need where and dealing with the yucky lid. What a great idea! I am SO doing this next time I get that paint out! Thanks!

  5. Kristin (The Goat) says:

    I am painting someones house right now and just went out and bought some new quart containers to make up a little “Home Kit” for the new owners. This is an excellent tip! Thanks Shannon!

  6. Audra Krell says:

    This is a really great tip, that is going to change our lives. Paint peels so badly in the hot Arizona sun and we never have the right thing around to go and match colors with. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Mandy says:

    This is a really GREAT idea!! We are FINALLY dwindeling down the entire house remodel project and I was just wondering what to do with the extra paint! Thanks!!

  8. citystreams says:

    That is such a fabulous idea Shannon. I can think of at least three spots in my house that I wish I could touch up with matching paint. Genius idea!

  9. Nancy says:

    Great idea! One of my friends just helped her SIL paint her house. I’ll have to tell her to pass this on. – Nancy

  10. Connie says:

    This is the kind of idea that is so obvious and so brilliant that we should have heard about it on Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray before. Thanks!

  11. Dot says:

    I’ve done this for years. My only problem is losing the little jars! But that’s a personal problem that would not affect the tip. LOL

  12. Wild Squirrel says:

    This is a great tip. I also like to add the extra sticker they give you at the store to a page in my household notebook, just in case we have to have more paint mixed up. The one on the can usually gets so messy!

  13. Dawn W says:

    My hubby did this, too, when the kids were little and he was constantly touching up the walls. He used old peanut butter jars.

  14. Kerry says:

    That’s a great idea. I wish I had done that when we painted the whole house. Hubby has a habit of “patching” things that only he can see :P, so we have little white spots everywhere…if only I had a mini jar!!!

  15. Brianna @ Heart(h) Management says:

    Oh, good idea! I have a file folder where I keep all of my home info, and I include paint chips from all of the different rooms. If I’m shopping for decor, I can take along the paint chips to get a better idea of what will match.

  16. Heather says:

    AH! It’s Wednesday already?!?! I had a WFMW idea, too. But I thought it was Tuesday…Anyway. LOL
    That is a really great idea your friend has.

  17. Kim says:

    When we bought our previous house new, the builders left baby food jars of paint for everything including the garage door. They also marked the name and type on each lid so that we could purchase more if we needed to (as they didn’t leave the original tins).

  18. threeundertwo says:

    When we had the whole house repainted after our recent remodel, the painter actually did this for us! So smart. He must have been around kids before.
    And yes, I’ve already had to get out those jars. *sigh*

  19. EEEEMommy says:

    I agree! Having creative and ingeneous friends definitely works for me! 🙂
    Once I finally get around to painting, I’ll have to remember this idea!

  20. Heather says:

    I LOVE this idea! So easy, and so useful! Plus, I like the idea of not having to root around in the spider-infested corner of the garage to find the paint I need 🙂

  21. Tami says:

    What a great idea. We are getting ready to pain and we will implement this because we have 3 boys and they are pretty destructive.

  22. Soutenus says:

    I also use this paint idea!! Here is another great tip: put your paint brush in the freezer and you can use it the next day with no hassles. Just let it thaw and you are good to go. I wrap it in a plastic grocery bag to keep things neat 🙂

  23. Crystal says:

    This was my first WFMW post. I hope to continue. I haven’t had to paint my kids’ room but once but if I decide to paint them again I will use this tip. Thanks.

  24. GiBee says:

    And the small jars are easier to store in a dark cool place, because the big cans of paint tend to go bad after a while… Very smart!

  25. Karin says:

    This is a great tip and one I wish I had thought of six years ago when we moved in and painted our entire interior. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lugged those big ol’ paint cans out!

  26. Cathy | Mommy Motivation says:

    LOVE that idea too! btw, I started writing things that I wish I knew in my 20’s for today’s post, and realized that these are lots of things that I want to pass on to my daughters. I’m thinking I could make this WFMW a habit. I know, I’m slow. 🙂

  27. Mom Of Faith says:

    This is a great idea…we’re in the process of buying a house and I’ll be painting both my girls rooms and this is just perfect! Thank you so much for sharing!

  28. Lauren says:

    That’s such a great idea. You could also get sample sizes (if possible) of the paint to keep, so you don’t have to mess with filling the jars. But not all paint comes in those small sample jars, so this is really helpful for those situations. I just had to go through a bunch of paint the other day to find my living room color for my mom to test to use in her house. It would’ve been much nicer to have a small jar of it … much less to stir!

  29. Tina says:

    Not to rain on the parade, but that doesn’t always work. We tried that, and our touched up areas look a different shade from the rest of the wall. I’m not sure if the wall changed color due to sunlight, if the saved paint didn’t get mixed up well or separated over time (even though I shook it up really well), or if if the wall is so dingy the new paint shows up (sadly I think that’s the case). We now have a spot that hides my son’s art, but it still stands out and we need to repaint the whole wall.

  30. kim says:

    I have done this also, but a warning: make sure the lid and rim are very clean and dry of any paint or else you will never get the lid off again! That is the one big downside to this method. I think there’s a reason those paint lids are made to pry off!

  31. AliAnn says:

    I love this idea. I actually first saw this on a friend’s blog where she not only filled the jars but used them as part of her decor.
    She says, “The jars looked so pretty full, and then I realized that they matched everything (of course). So…. what can I say?”
    Such a great idea.
    Her gorgeous pictures are here: (scroll way down)

  32. Tracy says:

    I love WFMW and all the great tips the readers have! And please thank Kelly for that great paint jar tip, I’m about to start painting rooms and I love this idea!

  33. cobblestones says:

    Now that is a GREAT tip! We just had to go buy a new quart of paint because we couldn’t find the old gallon in the abyss of the garage 🙂 Passing this along to my husband tomorrow!

  34. Anne says:

    Love this idea – especially as I plan on painting the house later this year. Thanks again Shannon for a great WFMW

  35. Katie says:

    Clean baby food jars work perfectly for this purpose. I figured it out by accident when I BARELY had enough paint to save in the big can, but needed some for touch ups. I felt like the smartest sleep-deprived person on the planet! 🙂 But I’m feeling a little less creative now…

  36. Katie says:

    Such a fabulous tip! And I love the idea of “Works for me Wednesdays”. I’d never heard of them before but now I’ll definitely be participating! Woohoo!

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