1. Keep One or Two of Those Plastic Grocery Store Bags Nearby as You’re Cooking-The counter’s OK, but an even better place is right on the knob of the silverware drawer or kitchen cabinets, or by the side of the counter you’re working on. The bag’s out of the way because it’s flat, yet it’s right there when needed. Immediately put your scraps or paper/plastic trash into it as you peel, chop and trim. When you’re done, or the bag’s full, just take it off the knob or side and throw away.
2. Spray the Baking Pans (or Dishes) and Equipment With Cooking Spray Before Using–Any food residue will wash off more easily.
3. Clean as You Go-If you wash dirty dishes each time you use them (and try to use the same ones if possible), there will be no massive piles at day’s end. If you have a dishwasher-Make sure it’s empty so that dirty dishes can go right in. If you ARE the dishwasher-Have some fresh, hot soapy water ready. As you’re clearing the table, you can put the dishes right in for soaking. By the time you’re done, most or all of the grime should be gone! Also, set out the plastic containers and baggies so that the leftovers can be put in right away. This can save you up to 15 minutes.
4. Several Theories Abound as to the Best or Fastest Way to Get the Dishes Up (and Done).. Some advocate collecting silverware in a utility basket, then stacking dishes separately, etc.
There’s no “one right way” to do this; you can simply just stack the dishes, leaving the silverware on the plates or as you’re stacking, just take all the silverware in one hand, then finally put them on the top dish. Then take in glasses and/or cups, and finally the serving dishes. This method works very well for yours truly. (the plates, silverware and glasses are soaking as the food’s being put away.Then just before the plates, etc. are actually washed, add soapy water to the pots and pans. By the time you’re ready for THEM…)
5. If Needed, Request Just One Volunteer-Too many helpers will slow things down.