After living somewhere for a while, you start to collect various things.  One of these things is paint.  You painted the dining room and wanted to keep the rest of that paint can in case you needed to touch up at some point.

Well, time goes on and a year later you’re sick of the color and paint it something else.  You’re now going to keep the rest of THAT can ‘in case’.  You can see where this is going.

Slowly but surely, you start to save and store multiple colors from multiple rooms until one day when you go to save another gallon and notice you’ve run out of room in your paint can storage area.  Time to get rid of them!

If you’re like me, you aren’t always the one at fault… sometimes you have relatives that move and need to store things.  I found the bin below in my shed when we recently moved – from my brother-in-law.. 🙂

I of course brought this to my house and put it in my garage.  I knew i’d have to do something with it at some point, and that point came this past weekend.

Within this bin there were about 10 gallons and 5-6 pints of latex paint, lucky me.

It could have been worse, however.  Oil based paint I would need to take to a recycle center to dispose of it.  Latex I can toss right in the trash once it dries out.

You can speed up the drying out process a couple of ways.  There is a product called a paint hardener that you can buy on Amazon or at your local home store (Home Depot, Lowes, etc..).

The paint hardener is expensive though – about $2.59 for enough to do 2/3 of a gallon.  The idea is once the paint is hard, you can toss it out in your regular garbage collection.

Another accepted (and cheaper) way to go about this is to get yourself some clumping cat litter from your local dollar store.   The cheapest one you can find.  The cheapest one I found there was $9.00 for 23lbs.  I was actually hoping I could have found a better deal, but I bought two of those 23lb boxes anyway as I had a lot of paint to deal with.

Next, put down some cardboard and line up your paint cans.

Next, remove the lids and pour paint from the can with the most into the one with the least..  try to even them out.  Also, we’re attempting to get each can so it’s just less than half full.  One third full is even better.

Don’t worry about mixing the colors or different paints together, your main thing is to get them all so they’re pretty much all at the same height inside the can.  The lower the better, but again, no more than half full.

(Great orange color eh?)

Ok, now, start pouring some kitty litter in each one – not too much, enough to maybe bring the level up about 2 inches.   Once you’re done pouring the kitty litter in, look around your garage for a stirring tool that you don’t care about.  I usually find a piece of rebar – it will need to be something rigid.  Also, it needs to be something you don’t mind throwing away afterwards.

With your rebar (or whatever you found), start stirring in the kitty litter in each one until you think you’ve stirred it up pretty well.  Then, let it sit for 30-60 minutes and do something else.

After your break, try stirring them again – see how it started hardening already?   Now, stir in some more kitty litter and do some more stirring.. and let that sit for another hour or so.

After doing this a few times, you’ll notice it’s getting harder and harder to stir.  Keep doing this until you’re happy with the results.

I’ll usually let it all sit overnight and check it again in the morning..

The next morning, get some black trash bags and put a few in at a time and tie them up and put them out for your weekly trash pickup!

After everything was done, I was able to get rid of 10 gallons and 6 pints of paint.  I did come across some (in the brother-in-law bin of course) totally dried out ones that I was able to use as overflow on some of the more full cans..  the only issue is that they had small holes in them and ended up leaking out all over my cardboard.

After throwing down some more kitty litter, it now looks like there was a cat box explosion in my garage.

It’ll clean up nice though – kitty litter!

I hope this helped you out – post your experiences below!