In this video, we organize cover plates, speed up spackling, and keep paint from bleeding behind the tape.
TIP 1: Remove outlet and switch-plate covers, and mark their location on painter's tape. Stick the tape on the back of the cover with the screws to keep the pieces together. Keep all the covers in a resealable bag so that they're easy to find, and re-install, later on.
TIP 2: Speed up prep time by cleaning the excess patching compound around the hole while it's still wet. Once it's dry, use a sanding sponge or a damp sponge to quickly smooth what little is left.
TIP 3: Run a plastic putty knife or an old gift card over painter's tape to seal the tape, creating a good bond between the tape and the wall. Just don't use a metal putty knife—it could leave marks on the wall.
See the rest of the Beyond the Basics: Painting series: