This story covers some time-proven procedures that will improve your painting experience.
Painting can be easy and enjoyable if you follow a few time-proven procedures.
Before you start, buy all the paint for a room at the same time, and have it shaken at the home center. If you use it within a week, just stir it lightly. If you have to wait more than a week, take it back for shaking or mix it with a paint-mixing propeller affixed to an electric drill (run the drill at a slow speed). To reduce spattering, stick the shaft through a foam plastic picnic plate before inserting it in the drill chuck.
Always paint from a small plastic bucket, not the paint can. That way, you can keep the lid on the can so the paint stays fresh. Don't pour more than a couple inches of paint in the bucket. That means less weight to carry and you won't overfill the brush as easily. Before dipping a brush into paint, dampen it with water (for latex paints) or paint thinner or mineral spirits (for oil-base or alkyd paints). Blot excess solvent from the brush so it is just damp. Priming the brush this way keeps the paint on the surface of the bristles and makes cleanup easier.
If the paint was mixed and shaken at the store within the past week, stir it lightly. You can use a flat wooden stirring paddle (usually free at the paint store), but one with holes will move through the paint without causing it to spill over the edge of the can.
Carefully lift the paint can with one hand on either side (you get better control of the pour this way) and pour paint into your small bucket. Put about 2 or 3 inches in the bucket. That way you reduce your chances of overloading the brush. (An overloaded brush keeps paint in the ferrule of the brush instead of applying it to the wall.)
Dip a primed brush into the paint only one-third to one-half the length of the bristles. Work the paint into the brush by pressing the bristles against the sides of the container. Tap the brush lightly against the inside of the bucket and lift it clear. Do not scrape the sides of the brush against the top edge of the bucket. That removes paint that belongs on the surface you're painting.