We all like the idea of an easy home make-over. One of the easiest ways to update a room is by painting it. It’s a process that can be a little overwhelming at first, but you have fun doing it. Which room are you going to paint? What color scheme are you leaning towards? How many gallons should you buy? The list goes on and on. Once you have all the logistics figured out, it’s time to paint. Days go by, and you’re on your last coat of paint. You look around the room and you realize you have plenty leftover. The next question you ask yourself is where you should place these leftover gallons. We all know paint is hazardous, but most people may not know the proper way to dispose of it.

Here are five things to consider with your leftover paint:

  1. Dry It Out Before You Throw It Out

You can throw away dried-out paint with the rest of your household trash. Leaving it out in the sun is an adequate drying process. However, if there’s bit more than the sun can handle, try adding kitty litter or newspaper to speed up the process. You can purchase a paint hardener for larger amounts of paint. Check your local laws, but in many locations, throwing away dry paint is allowed.

  1. Think Before You Toss

Oil-based paint can last up to 15 years and latex paint up to 10. So if a piece of furniture accidentally scrapes the paint, you’ll be glad you saved the leftovers. The EPA recommends keeping the paint in its original can and with the original label. A good tip is to add the date you opened it and room it corresponds to. Be sure when you seal the can by placing plastic wrap over the paint lid and hammering it down. It’s best to store it in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and out of reach of children and pets.

If your paint becomes hard or lumpy, or if it has a foul smell, it has probably gone bad and should be disposed.

  1. Donate It

A good way to get the leftover paint out of your basement or garage is to reuse or recycle it. Use the left over paint to glamorize an old dresser or stool. You could also ask a friend or family member if they need some paint. Call your local city schools to see if they have any big projects coming up. You could also research green building companies that will take latex paint, such as Habitat for Humanity’s Restores.

  1. Find A Disposal Location

If you really want the extra paint out of your hands, companies like Lowe’s, PaintCare and Habitat for Humanity accept leftover paint and recycles it. You can also search for a hazardous waste drop-off facility in your area.

  1. Plan Ahead

Next time you update a room or paint old furniture, get a good estimate of how much you should buy ahead of time. Most retailers equip their website with a paint calculator, preventing you from having a lot left over.