Thursday, January 28, 2010

Simplifying our stash (and a freebie!)

Sometimes I'll get an email asking me for renovation tips. I don't usually have much sage advice to share but I finally have something that every single homeowner should do. Organize your paints!!

While the renovation was going on, making sure our paint colors were all neatly labeled was just about the last thing on our minds. After the reno, we were all too happy to wave good-bye to our contractors and throw all of the supplies in the basement. As a result, we have a little corner of the basement that looks like a defunct hardware store. Most of the cans have no indication of what's inside.

BasementPaintCanJumble

So as three years have gone by our walls have suffered the inevitable dings and scuffs that moving in bring.

Mr. Limestone and I have been talking about sitting down and getting this task of touching up done for at least a year now. Its not a very glamorous task so it just got pushed and pushed until it could wait no more. The hardest part was figuring out which colors went with which rooms. And since we were going through the pain of sorting through it, we didn't want to end in this predicament again. Organization was the only option. He brought home some pretty little paint cans and we got to work. While I know a simple scribble with magic marker would have done the job, I decided they should be pretty too. So I designed some simple labels to use on the cans.
PaintOrganizingSuppliesPaintOrganizingLabels2

We sorted, stirred and poured.
BasementPaintCanJumble2PaintOrganizingStir
We went around the house with tiny paint brushes touching up here and there. Was a bit worried it would be splotchy but the beauty of flat paint is that you can't tell the touch ups from the original coat. Ahh, relief.
PaintOrganizingLadlingPaintPaintOrganizingHammering
I filled out the labels and Mr. L came up with the genius idea to paint the top of the can so we had a better swatch to work with next time we needed to touch up.
PaintOrganizingLabeledCans3
In the end we didn't really completely knock out the giant mountain of mystery paint cans but we got a lot done. Maybe one more round and we'll be in good order.
PaintOrganizingLabeledCans

If this post has you itching to organize your own paint stash, I'll lend a hand in by sharing the labels.
PaintOrganizingLabels

******Download the labels here.******

If you end up using these or you have your own tips, I'd love to hear about it.

93 comments:

  1. That's a great idea. I can't remember where I read it but using Ball jars and labeling is also a great idea for touching up.

    If I haven't said it before, I love what you did with the place.

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  2. Oh so amazing! What beautiful labels! Thanks for sharing. I've had this on my to-do list for over a year now as well. Perhaps I should work on it this weekend!

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  3. Awesome as always Mrs. Limesone! What do you make your labels in, software wise?

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  4. ************
    Erin - Thanks. I used Illustrator for this.
    ************

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  5. lauren of pure style home had a wonderful idea of putting a little bit of each room's paint in a mason jar (with a brush) in each room (under sink, for example). that way next time you need to touch up the paint in that room, the paint is right there. no more running to the basement or garage and sorting thru all the cans. genius!

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  6. The paint store we buy from acutally puts a little splotch of paint on the lid and writes the colour, code and the room we are using it for on the lid for us. I love great service!

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  7. We label our paint cans, but in a much less glamourous Sharpie-on-the-original-can kind of way. And yep, we do a little splotch of the color and I usually write the name of the room(s) it was used in. It's all in the basement with our leftover trays and rollers.

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  8. Great project! I have a cabinet of paint cans that are an eye sore everytime I look at it. Where can I find those paint cans? Thanks!

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  9. Well I printed out your lables because I have lots of cans. We just redid our place and I love the way you made even the paint cans pretty. Much nicer to have around.

    Thank you.

    Hugs,
    Joanne

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  10. LOVE this. Where can I find those paint cans??

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  11. You can even make paint cans look beautiful. You've inspired me today. We, too, have been putting off touching up. Thanks so much for the labels and the idea! =)

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  12. I LOVE this. Great Idea for organizing my paints. I too have one of those disfunct hardware store corners in the garage. I'm for sure going to use these labels. Thanks!!!!!!!!

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  13. LOVE THIS so MUCH. I just did the touch up thing on Monday...up and down the stairs from the basement can and foam brush in hand...made such a difference. Thank you for the labels. Will definitely do this.
    My little tip...those nylon pan scrapers like the ones that you get from Pampered Chef are great at scraping up dried paint splatter on your wood floors without damaging them.
    ~Tara

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  14. I had never thought to organize our paints, what a great idea! I love the idea of painting a large swatch on the top. I can bet that our paint area is worse that yours was! With two little boys we will be touching up once we list our place in the next year or so. This is definitely inspiration for beyond!

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  15. Wow... those are gorgeous labels. Will you come to my house and do mine? I seriously have about 200 quarts and 50 gallons. Come on, it would be fun for you!!!!!!!!

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  16. I love this idea! I got my labels ready to organize my paints.

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  17. so cute, what a great organizational project. Your corner in the basement must be so pretty now.

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  18. Thanks for sharing that , i saved those , will use that for sure , paint cans can look pretty .

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  19. Right after we are done painting a room, but before we put the paint can in the garage for storage, I write the name of the room the paint was used in (and the location if necessary, ie ceiling) with a Sharpie on the top of the can.

    Gotta say, your paint cans look waaaaay cuter than my drippy, label-peeling, dusty, Sharpie-marked cans. Well done.

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  20. I read that storing paint cans upside down will help the paint form an airtight seal around the rim. I am also saving plastic peanut butter jars to store my paint in--easy screw on and off lid--and the labels would look great on those clear plastic jars. Thanks!

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  21. Love it! Way to take a crumby task and dress it up!

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  22. ********************************
    Mango & Natalie: The paint cans came from Lowes.

    Shauna - When I buy a can of paint the store will do the same thing. Its just that all of this paint was bought by my contractors in huge amounts. So they had their own labeling system that I can't translate.
    ***********************************

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  23. OK, that DEFINITELY beats my paint cans labeled with a sharpie! You make even the most mundane things look so pretty!! Thanks for the freebie!

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  24. Great idea ~ and thanks for the free label! :)

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  25. I am totally going to use your beautiful label on my empty pasta sauce jars to store my leftover paint (idea stolen from Jeannine at Small and Chic in Cville: http://smallchic.blogspot.com/2009/09/small-chic-paint-storage.html)

    Anytime a container is free, it's good for me! Wonderful job making those cans look amazing, and thanks for sharing the label.

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  26. We are just about to buy our first home and I'm SOOOO excited about getting to paint, paint, paint. Well, really, I'm excited about getting to pick the paint. :) I particularly love your labels and your husbands idea to paint the top of the cans! We will definitely be doing this to keep it all under control. And I'm sure it's easier to do it as we go, right? Thanks for sharing!

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  27. Thanks so much! Great post.

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  28. Reminds me of the organization that John & Sherry did over at Young House Love not too long ago in their new "basement" area. So great!

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  29. Wow - I really need to do this, thanks for the tips!

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  30. You're on a printable roll- I love these! Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

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  31. Your left over paint in their new cans are now so pretty, can you really just leave them in the basement?!
    Janell

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  32. your organized paints are so pretty, you could dispay them! i've never seen anyone do this - are you a smidge type A? ;) i wish OCD type was a disease i could contract - i'm definitely type D personality - I just wrote on the sides and lids of our paint cans with a permanant marker! it works =)

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  33. This post is so perfect for us right now! We are in the midst of re-painting every room in our house (ceilings and trim, too) and I have been thinking as we go along that we should be organizing the leftovers. I am downloading your label and starting this weekend!!

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  34. Currently my paint stash looks very similar to your before photo. What a great idea on how to organize these. Thanks!

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  35. You are fabulous! We just moved into our home and I have been doing some painting. Thank you for the download. I will be using these.

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  36. Great idea and tip.

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  37. Thank you for the labels. If I can ever get my hubby to clear a path in the garage to get to the paint cans, I will definitly give this a go. This is a really fantastic idea.

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  38. Fantastic idea. Love your labels!

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  39. Here's another tip my mom taught me, that not only helps you, but will help any future owner of your home: place the name and brand and a swatch of your paint for each room behind a lightswitch.

    So, you can either slip a piece of paper next to the sockets when you're finished painting and right before you replace the switch plate, or you can use my preferred method of writing down the brand, color formula and color name on a piece of masking tape and sticking it to the back of a light switch plate. If you consistently put them on/behind the light switches (as opposed to any other outlet), it will be easy for the next owner to figure out what paint goes where and if they have to get paint mixed to match.

    Love the labels, by the way.

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  40. SUPERB, Mrs. L! Thanks for the label, too...I know what I'll be doing saturday while the snow comes in down here in SC.....

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  41. I JUST DID THIS! In my early nesting phases cut down a huge cupboard of almost empty paint cans and put them into smaller cans. {Admitedly I used a sharpie- not these adorable labels!} I've also learned you can store small amounts of paint in old water bottles. FREE! Love it. Great post.

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  42. Okay, you are just too awesome! I need to you to come to my house and be my life coach. You always seem to turn undesirables into something beautiful...even paint cans. I just purchased new post-it label pads and included it in my last post. Now I feel like I need to step-it-up in the organizing category.

    Thanks for all the great tips and inspiration!
    xo
    Amy R.

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  43. I love this idea. Our paint is ...errrr... "stacked" in the basement. The labels are so nice and make something ugly like a paint can a little more enjoyable.

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  44. This is something I have been meaning to do for awhile... the garage is a mess and I hate searching through it to find the paint to touch up. Thanks for the download!

    Michelle

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  45. That is fabulous advice ~ try it the first time around though ~ much easier. Luckily I have an anal husband to attends to such matters (thank God!). I must say, those are the prettiest paint labels I have ever seen!
    Paula Grace ~

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  46. Moving leftover paint from gallon cans to quarts will definately keep your paint from drying out and it looks so pretty too.

    Unfortunately we decided to move out paint cans out to the storage shed. They all froze. Duh! Now I need to figure how to get rid of paint cans that are full of ruined paint. Nice huh?

    Thanks for the beautiful labels. I seem to always be painting something so will put them to good use in the future.

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  47. Kudos to you. This is something that I have always planned to do but never gotten around to. Now I HAVE to with your great label!

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  48. Great tips!!! paint is hard to store!!!

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  49. I love the tips, but I know I'll never get to do it! But I did just find a paint color for my bathroom... Waterfall! I love it! Thanks so much. You're an inspiration.

    http://www.ijustwanttobethere.blogspot.com/

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  50. Your paint cans put my paint cans to shame. Everything you do has that extra touch.

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  51. so cool! thanks for the freebie;0

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  52. How nice. Thank you.

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  53. Such a good idea! Love this.

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  54. Prettiest darn paint cans I've ever seen! I'm so doing this. Thanks!

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  55. First - it's SO sweet of you to always take the time to give your readers a downloadable freebie, so thanks for that.

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  56. Anonymous4:07 PM

    I just found your blog! Love it, Love it, Love it!! You have a beautiful house!
    Jimena

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  57. They look so lovely! Did I just say "paint cans" look lovely?! I swear~ you always come up with the best ideas ever!

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  58. This is beautifully brilliant!!! And, oh so very thoughtful to provide the labels!

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  59. Oh my gosh!!!! The paint, the paint, the paint pile we have in our basement could paint the town!
    Between business and home it really piles up.
    I've been writing w/ marker the room description on the top, but as ALWAYS, you have come up with a MUCH LOVELIER way of organizing.
    I will now add this to my ever growing list!!
    annie
    (are you related to Martha Stewart?)just wondering...

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  60. Great idea....love the labels.

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  61. You are amazing! What a great idea. I have a corner in my shed that is dying for some organization like this. Perhaps as it gets warmer I'll venture out there with you as my motivation.

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  62. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  63. love the labels! i want to use them to organize more out in the open things because they're so gorg! thanks for the inspiration. if you've got the time (haha) check my blog: http://meredithtuttle.blogspot.com :)

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  64. Genius! My store room needs this kind of help.

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  65. What a fun and stylish organization tool for paint cans. Who said they can't be beautiful?!

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  66. What a great idea! I could def. use this to organize my paint as my basement looks just like yours does. Thanks for sharing. I love your newly finished bedroom also.

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  67. This is so great! I just featured on my blog: http://brynalexandra.blogspot.com/2010/02/beatiful-paint-cans.html

    I am going to use these for organizing paint in our new apartment garage! I'll be sure to send to you when I do.

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  68. What kind of brush did you use for your touch ups?

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  69. Thanks so much for sharing ~ these labels are such a great idea and so nice to look at!

    Kindly, ldh

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  70. Cara - I used one of those foam sponge brushes. But I dont think it matters - flat paint is very forgiving b/c it has no sheen.

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  71. woo-hoo!! what a great way to store paint and the lables make it so pretty that it is actually motivating to do, lol. i am filing this idea at thecraftersfilebox.com.

    thanks so much for sharing!

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  72. Thank you for the idea, and for the freebie beautiful labels! I have corralled about 16 different paints in lovely shiny cans, thanks to you. I wrote about it in my blog post at http://ourcreeksideplace.blogspot.com/2010/02/snowed-in-too-much-time-on-my-hands.html

    Thanks again!

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  73. Thank you, maybe our paint stash will be on its way to organization.

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  74. I LOVE the idea. I am redoing most of my walls this summer and then going to CLEAN OUT all of my oodles of paint cans. I WILL be jazzing up my paint shelf just as you did. Thank you for the template-too sweet!

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  75. hat is fantastic! Kudos for you for the class and frugalness of that bag!!! Another thought might be quarters!!! I ALWAYS needed quarters in college for my laundry! haha!!

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  76. Thank you for these elegant labels. We're working on a post about organization and included these in it. We used one of your pictures and credited you along with a direct link to this post. We hope that's okay. Let us know if it's not.

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  77. What kind of labels do you print them out on?

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  78. sorry - my email is hairbernadette@hotmail.com

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  79. Those labels are fabulous. I put all my old paint into mason jars and have been looking for a good way to label them, I think I'll have to steal your labels fabulous!

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  80. Ada @ New York6:13 PM

    Wow ... how do u find the time to do all this??? :)  GREAT tip!

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  81. Tarala7810:21 PM

    I LOVE BM Waterfall, such a pretty color.

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  82. MichelleAnn9:34 AM

    What a crafty gal you are! 

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  83. Thanks so much for the useful tip on organizing paints {as I KNOW how easy it is to get addicted to them!} and the label is absolutely gorgeous! This is a very much appreciated post! Keep up the great work!

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  84. Terrie Mathison9:15 AM

    Just saw your idea over at Centsational Girl! Thanks for sharing your ideas and your label!!   

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  85. What a fantastic idea. Thanks for the printables!

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  86. Kellie9:54 AM

    Love these labels. Many Thanks :)

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  87. Michele_favaro3:19 PM

    I wish you could quit your job and come to my house everyday for 3 months and decorate my house and organize my house..including my paint.....if I win Lotto someday I might just hire you :)

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  88. Melanie F.1:45 PM

    Thank you so much for your amazing labels. I have been wanting to sort my paints for years and just always put it off. For Mother's Day this year, I treated myself to a shopping spree at Lowe's so that I could finally tackle these ugly cans. I went with the plastic cans with lids instead of the metal so that it would be easy to access for future touch ups and you can see the color through the container. I went from 40 cans to around 20 cans. Today I am making last minute touch ups and cleaning up my mess. So glad to have this project off my back. Thanks again for sharing your idea.

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  89. Teri Barefoot7:38 PM

    I so need to do this, my cans are getting all messy and banged up

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  90. just found this post while looking for ways to organize my paint cans.  I would love to use your labels, but the download isn't working.  Any chance you still have them available for download somewhere else?  Have found several other styles but like yours the best.  They seem to be the most complete.  Will try to remake them if I need to.  Thanks.

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  91. Give it a try now - the link should be working.

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