Old Paint in the Basement

paintMost homes that I show to my buyers have a corner of the basement with cans of old paint. Amy and I probably have more than most in our own home, just in case we need to touch up any one of the rainbow of colors that adorn our walls. We also have a couple of cans containing colors that are no longer in use.

While homeowners may feel comfortable stockpiling reserves, they can become a problem during the sale of a home. Sellers are supposed to clean everything out of the property. Including the old paint. Buyers may ask for certain colors to be left, but sellers should assume that they need to dispose of it all.

Paint is considered a hazardous material, and should not be thrown into the trash. The MDC has a hazardous materials collection program that includes paint and other chemical waste. Check out their complete guide to the program. They list the items that they can accept in addition to those that they cannot.

Oil based paint can be collected by the MDC. Latex paint cannot, which is unfortunate since most household paints are now latex. Their guide suggests cracking the lids on the cans to let the paint dry out. For cans containing a meaningful amount of paint, they suggest using kitty litter to speed the drying process. Once everything is dry, we are allowed to throw the cans (with the lids off) in the regular garbage can.

Collections are held on Saturdays at different sites each week. This Saturday (June 6, 2009) they will be in Windsor from 8:00 to 1:00 at the Poquonock Water Pollution Control Facility. Next week they’ll be in Hartford at Fox Middle School, and the following week they’ll be in Wethersfield at the High School. After those three collections there is a break until August.

I don’t know anyone that enjoys dealing with their old paint. I know that I don’t. But I think it is important to dispose of paint, and other hazardous materials, properly to protect our environment. We’re fortunate to have a collection program in place, even if our opportunities to participate are limited to Saturday mornings. The program is open to residents of most towns in Greater Hartford (see the site for the complete list) and residents of the participating towns can visit any collection site.

Don’t miss your opportunity, especially if you’re considering selling your home.