December 16, 2011
Organizing your painting tools and supplies not only makes it more convenient for you to find them when you need them, but makes it safer for your materials as well. Whenever you're dealing with flammable substances it's always better to keep them separate and in safe locations.
Take Stock of What You Have
First, you'll need to go through your tools and supplies to see if there's anything that needs weeding out. Paint brushes should be cleaned as soon as possible but if you leave them too long and they rust or get damaged it might be cheaper to buy new ones than it is to try to spend the time cleaning them and getting them in working condition again. In addition, if you have things like painter's tape that only has a few inches left on it you might want to toss them.
Sort Your Supplies
Next, you'll want to clear out a space to store your tools and supplies. Try to find a location that you don't use anything else for. If you're storing paint along with the tools then you want to keep the supplies away from other cleaning supplies that might contain flammable substances. Likewise, keep rags with flammable substance residue away from any paint containers, thinners, or other cleaning solutions as they can catch on fire.
Store in a Safe Place
You'll also want to store things in an area that stays reasonably cool. You don't want it to freeze, because then you might not be able to use it, but you don't want it to get too hot either. Around 60 degrees is preferable. You want to keep it away from direct sunlight, furnaces, and heat sources as well.
If any of your cans are half full then consider emptying them into containers that are smaller. Paint tends to dry out if it is exposed to a lot of air. You can use jars or smaller paint cans. You might even be able to combine paint, as long as it's the same shade and color. As you're storing your paint, especially if you put it into other containers, write the name of the color on the container, do a pain swab if you can, and even write down where you bought the paint and what you used it on. This will be helpful if you need to touch something up later or even buy more of the same kind.
For your paint trays, rollers, brushes, drop cloths, and stir cloths, keeping them together is the most important thing. Large plastic storage totes work well to keep all of these supplies together, yet separated. You can also use plastic dish tubs, such as the kind that you can buy and place in your sink for dishwashing. These are small enough that they can be great for the smaller tools and supplies and they don't take up as much room.
Note: If you use a plastic bin, tote, or bucket then you can pick up everything at once when you need it without having to make multiple trips.
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