Before placing the paint on the shelf and – perhaps instantly – forgetting about it, it makes sense to think about whether we will need the paint again soon and how much. It is a good idea to save a little of the paint, just enough to fix minor flaws such as those scratches, scuffs or marks that seem to have a tendency to appear on freshly painted surfaces. However, there is no point in storing large amounts of paint if we know it is unlikely to be used up in the following months. This only extends its storage time until the paint is no longer usable and has to be discarded. In such a case it is better to pass on paint leftovers to someone who needs them or who will be happy to brainstorm for ideas how to use them in a creative way. A general rule of thumb is that if at the time of storing it, you have no plans where and how to use it, you might want to donate it instead.
Nursery and primary schools will welcome leftover paints for various afternoon crafts and other activities. You can reach out to local non-profit organisations, charities and cultural establishments, youth centres, artists or artistic souls. Spread the word among your relatives, friends, acquaintances and on social media. Perhaps your friend has a daughter who is always busy with creative projects and would appreciate even small paint leftovers? Do you know a family who has just moved into a new home?
You could hang up a note on the notice board of your apartment building, offering your paint leftovers for a face-lift of the common areas. Your neighbours might have some unused paint stowed away on their shelves, too, and you could join forces to freshen up the hallway or the outdoor areas. Avoid unnecessary hoarding in the basement.