I think one of the reasons people dread painting so much, is that there is a lot of prep work. It's not my favorite part, but I just figure that into my work day, and it doesn't bother me too much. Especially because I know that if I take my time and prep well, the painting will look much better and go much smoother.
Before prepping, I set up a good work station. Now, unfortunately, I have set this up on my kitchen table, which means that we can't really use it until I'm done, but since I don't really have time to cook while painting, it all seems to work out in the end.
I start with a good thick towel or covering.
I've used a lot of different products to patch, but this is by far my favorite. It goes on easily, dried fast, and it has a primer built in to it, so it covers really well with even just the first coat of paint. Love it! I don't have a picture of the spreader that I use along with it, but I use a metal one that is about 1-1/2" wide. Just remember to wash it after each use, before the spackling dries on it.
Sanding sponges are a must. They help smooth out the spackling, as well as any other imperfections along the way.
Blue tape with edge-lock. I go through a lot of this, but it's worth it. One thing about my main floor, is that we have stained wood trim. So, although that makes it so that I don't have to repaint my trim (yay!), I do have to tape it off really well. Blue tape works really well.
Good paintbrushes are a must! I love a 2" angled brush for cutting in around trim, and in the corners.
As far as roller pads go, invest in the good ones. If you go for the cheapies, they can leave fuzz on your walls. I've had that experience, and there isn't much you can do once the fuzz is on the walls. Ugh. These pro doo-z don't leave any thing at all, and after painting for a couple of weeks, I'm still using my first roller pad. When I'm done for the day, I wrap it all up in a plastic grocery bag, so that no air can get to it. The next time I paint, I pull the bag off, and the pad is wet and ready to go. I don't ever wash my roller pads. Too much of a pain, and it seems you never really get all the paint out. I buy a good supply, and change them out whenever I feel the need.
This Wooster Pelican is a something I just found this time around of painting. It has disposable liners, if you want to go that route, but the thing I like about it, is it's easy to carry around when I'm using the paintbrush. And when I'm done with the brush, it has a magnet on the side that keeps the brush up and out of the paint, but still able to drip into the container. Brilliant!
Of course there are other supplies you'll need: a roller pan with liners (I hate washing out roller pans), plenty of rags, baby wipes (another genius method of cleaning up spills as you go), screwdrivers (for removing electrical outlet covers, etc), paint stirrers, and anything else you think is necessary.
After you have all your supplies gathered, spend a day prepping. Tape everything carefully and thoroughly. It takes time, but once it's done, it's done. You'll notice the tape around the doorways, and the cabinets, as well as the rocks below...
When you come to outlet and switch covers, REMOVE THEM! It is so easy to remove them, and it makes it so much easier to paint. I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how many people paint right over, or try to paint around. And once they're removed, it is nice to throw a piece of tape over the switches or outlets so that paint doesn't get on them. So easy! I have a small container where I keep all the covers and screws so that as soon as the fresh paint is dry, I can easily take that container around with me and replace all the covers.
Once the taping is done, get painting! Make sure you have plenty of dropcloths. My favorite is the plastic lined canvas cloths. If you have a spill, the paint doesn't go through the plastic.
Painting update: I've finished the family room, kitchen and family room upper stairway. Today I'll tape off the hall way, and hopefully get a coat of paint on it. Moving along...