It sounds as if you did all the right things, if you have any blisters in the repairs of the damaged drywall paper, you need to cut out the blisters with a razor and re-apply joint compound. As far as sanding goes, you can get a sanding pole for about $14, use dust masks when sanding. After sanding the joint compound (and lightly over-all) prime all the walls before painting, for slick finish walls LIGHTLY sand again with pole before painting. For textured walls, texture then prime. I would recomend useing regular sanding pole paper for the poles, in my experience the screen type will leave small grooves in the mud. Be sure the mud is completely dry before sanding. For slick wall finish you should use a 150 grit, for textured you can use 100 or 80, depending on the heaviness of the texture.
It should take about 30 - 45 minutes of sanding per average room for light to medium repairs, and that is not including ceilings. That is running over it with the pole and coming back and touch-up sanding by hand.