Unless you eat out every meal, dishes are inevitable. It's amazing how quickly they can pile up if you don't tend to them after each meal and snack or if you don't unload the dishwasher when it is done. Those are my first tips: always unload the dishwasher ASAP and wash and load the dishwasher after each meal or snack so they don't pile up.
Here's my next set of tips:
Just like everything else in my house, I have a system for dishes. We have a dishwasher and disposal (thank God). That sounds funny, but I have been lots of places that didn't have one or the other or both and it makes it really challenging to do dishes. With a dishwasher and disposal, dishes are simple.
We have a two-sided sink. The side with the disposal and the counter next to it is for dirty dishes only. This makes it easy on Luke because he knows where to put a dirty dish. We don't let him put them in the sink (it's too deep and we would get broken dishes). The side without the disposal and the counter next to it (which just happens to be above the dishwasher) is for clean dishes only. The clean side of the sink is where things that don't go into the dishwasher (frequently used things - peeler, knife or bulky items - pots, pans, mixing bowls) are put to dry.
With this system, it makes doing dishes super easy. You go to the dirty side and either rinse and load the dishes into the dishwasher or scrub, rinse, and put them on the clean side to dry. When the dishwasher is done and ready to be unloaded, you just put it all away (that is when I put away the dishes on the clean side as well). It makes it really easy and pretty quick.
My dishwasher tips:
Yes, I load my dishwasher in a very anally organized manner (and Lee follows it). I figured I would share my system in case you wanted some ideas. Trust me, it takes just as much time to load it specifically versus just putting things in and saves a ton of time when unloading.
Utensil holder: Each side has 3 places for utensils. One side is for silverware. We put spoons in one, forks in one, and knives in one. On the other side, we put steak knives in one (the one next to the knives) and kitchen tools (big spoons, measuring cups, etc) in the other two. It makes it really easy when you go to unload. I grab a handful of the same thing and can put it away really fast.
Around the edges (where it is wide): This is where bowls go.
Inside: We line up dinner plates on one side and salad plates on the other. It makes it really easy to unload because you grab a handful of similar plates and can put them away in seconds.
We have a row for tall glasses, a row for smaller glasses, a row for sippy cups, a basket for sippy cup lids, a row for ramekins (really small bowls), and a row for tupperware and car cups (water bottles, etc).
I hope this helps. :)