Or how to keep your sink empty with the least amount of effort.
Here is my secret to having an (usually) empty sink. Wrangle the dishes while waiting for food to do things. Really. It’s that simple.
Here is a typical day of dish wrangling:
Breakfast – Unload the dishes while the bacon is cooking. Then, load in dishes as they dirty.
(For example: As I finish with each pan, I rinse it and load it in. Then, when I’m done cooking, the sink is empty and the dishes are already loaded. After eating, I can put the dishes directly into the washer. My sink remains empty.)
Lunch – Load in dishes as they dirty. If you don’t eat lunch at home, then you get to skip this one. If you took your lunch to work/school/etc., make sure to load the containers in when you get home.
Dinner – Load in dishes as they dirty. After dinner, add the plates/forks/cups, etc. Is the dishwasher full? Great, run it. If not, don’t. (It’s usually full by this point. Especially if I used a large pan for dinner.)
Voila! That’s it. My sink is nearly always empty and my dishes are generally clean when I need them. This system allows us to own less pots and pans among other kitcheny bits. Give it a shot. It takes a few days to get the routine down, but it works. If nothing else in my house is clean, at least the sink is empty.