I'm nearly finished with repainting pretty much every room in my new house, a process that was way more labor intensive and, like almost all my other forays into home improvement, cost more than I'd initially thought. A big part of the latter was I hadn't factored in how much paint can add up ($40/gallon? Eek!) . And since I have some paint leftover, and will no doubt need it later for touch-ups, I want to make sure I'm doing what I can to protect my investment.
After a bit of poking around, I found a handy list of suggestions on making paint last from Consumer Reports, some of it intuitive, some of it less so. Here's the rundown:
Keep paint somewhere that's consistently room temperature, rather than in a place that gets exceptionally hot or cold, which can cause it to solidify.
Even if you've only got a small fraction of a can left, resist the temptation to consolidate it into a smaller container.
Make sure the label is intact and that the brand, type of paint, color and finish are all legible, and not covered in paint drippings. If not, write all that info on a label (or a piece of masking tape) to affix to the can. Also consider scribbling down where you used that particular shade of paint, especially if you used like shades throughout the house.
Clean any wet paint that's smeared around the rim of the can with damp paper towels before closing the lid.
And, also before closing the lid, cover the opening of the can with plastic wrap to keep the container air tight.
If you're using oil based paint, lay a piece of wax paper directly onto the surface of the paint inside the can to prevent a film from forming.
Use heavy pressure when sealing the can, but don't use a hammer (oops - can't even count how many times I've done this), or risk damaging the rim. A rubber mallet is the ideal tool for this job.