So, you're behind on dishes, as usual. And for some reason, (maybe company is coming, maybe you have been overcome by a sudden burst of motivation, okay, company is probably coming), today is the day to get caught up. Here is a step-by-step tutorial for getting those dishes under control. (This is the no dishwasher version of the tutorial. If you have a dishwasher, tomorrow's tip is for you.)
1. Take everything out of the sink. (I told you not to put them in there, but do you ever listen?)
2. Dump out the nasty stuff, and stack things into piles of similar and stackable items. This clears up enough counter space for step 3.
3. Fill all the cups and mugs with hot water, and set them aside to soak.
4. Fill the sink with hot, soapy water, and as many of the stacks as you can fit. Pile all the silverware on one side of the sink.
5. The sink is too hot. Leave and go do something else for a while.
6. Oops, you spent too long doing something else, and now the water is cold. Empty the sink.
7. Refill the sink with WARM water. Fill a dish tub with hot water for rinsing.
8. Wash and rinse dishes, then pile as many as you can in the dish drainer.
9. When the dish drainer is full, move it to a clear counter, or the floor, and let those dishes dry. Move your spare dish drainer beside the sink and continue washing dishes.
10. If you find a crusty dish, scrape the gunk off with a spatula, then move it to the bottom of the pile to soak some more.
11. When the second dish drainer is full, switch the dish drainers again. The dishes in the first drainer should be dry enough to put away by now.
12. Once all of the smaller, stackable items (plates, bowls) and silverware are clean, work on the bigger items, like pots and pans and mixing bowls. These bigger items will fit on top of the smaller stuff in the dish drainers, so you can put off emptying the dish drainers for longer.
13. Wash the cups last. By the time you get to the cups, you should have cleared enough counter space to spread out some tea towels to dry the cups on. (If you have baking racks, put them under the tea towels - the extra air space will help them dry faster.)
14. Try to put all the dishes away. Realize that, when all of your dishes are clean, there isn't actually room for them all in the cupboards. Put a bunch of dishes in the dish drainer as temporary storage until you dirty enough dishes to make space for them.