Tonight I took it upon myself to polish our silverware. We use our "nice" silverware every day because I cannot stand the idea of having a set of unused, gorgeous flatware in a closet somewhere. So yes, I do have to hand wash it, but it is totally worth it to open the silverware drawer and find that warm glow shining back at me. (And it is not sterling silver, but is only silver-plated. It is still beautiful!)
The set we have is from my husband's grandmother, and my cursory research dates it to 1953. The pattern is "White Orchid," which is perfect for me because I love orchids.
Daily washing and drying keeps the silver well-polished, so I only need to polish the set once or twice a year (and even then, it's only minimally tarnished--so lightly tarnished that I doubt anyone else would notice but me).
The tip that I have is to use latex medical gloves! I do not like to use my regular kitchen gloves because they are so thick; the thinner medical gloves are perfect for keeping the silver polish off of my hands, but allowing me to do a great job getting the silver well-polished. And then I can just throw them away--which is perfect because they are pretty gross after polishing all the silver.
I find that polishing the silver is like ironing your clothes or shining your shoes. These are jobs no one seems to want to do, and our culture generally regards as a complete waste of time, but to me they are the perfect domestic tasks: they aren't done every day, they provide instant results, and the end result is deeply gratifying!