My game plan consists of washing the dishes each night as soon as the kids are in bed. It isn't realistic for me to wash them after each meal since I have 3 little ones ready to move on to the next thing. But once a day is a good place to start. I had been spending so much time rinsing all the dishes, loading the washer, running the washer, unloading the washer, blah blah blah.
The hardest part for me was keeping it unloaded. I would have a whole new loads-worth sitting on my counter, but the washer had yet to be emptied. I still have to put the dishes away now, but it is so much easier since they are already sitting in the drying rack (no, I do not towel-dry my dishes...I let air work for me on this one). Sometimes I put a few away throughout the day, or all at once when I get a chance.
Another thing I am loving is that I get to wipe down my counters and table each night. No more grimy food getting stuck overnight. This also forces me to put away other clutter that may have gathered on my counters.
I am not totally anti-dishwasher though... either when guests eat over, or if our family continues to grow, a dishwasher may cut down on the time (and hopefully there would be more people to help load/unload!).
So for now, I'll be hand-washing our dishes. But I have one dilemma... check out my next post.