By DUBY LITVIN
(My Jewish Learning via JTA) – Passover requires a great deal of preparation, especially if you are making your home kosher for Passover.
These 10 tips will help you organize and prioritize, so you can enjoy the holiday.
1. Don’t wing it, plan it
Planning is imperative. Think of your house as your corporation and you are its CEO. You are in charge. Just like a big company would plan out its functions, you also want to work on “Project Passover.” When you have a plan in place, things will go much smoother.
2. Delegate to your team, including children
As CEO it is your job to delegate and supervise all the tasks. The more you delegate the better off you will be. If you can afford it, hire a cleaning person to help. Have your spouse or a teenage son or daughter take care of the shopping. Even if you think the job is small and easy, the less on your plate the better.
The best thing with children under 6 is to have someone else take them out of the house, so you can clean without them underfoot. Older children can handle small jobs, such as wiping down toys and surfaces. In the kitchen, these little helpers can do peeling, juicing, cracking nuts or other introductory jobs. Know what your child can or can’t handle and let him or her feel important. With modern technology, you can even leave some of the housework to an automated helper in the form of a Bissell robotic vacuum cleaner.
3. Passover cleaning vs. spring cleaning
Imagine sitting down to a beautiful Passover seder —the house is sparkling clean, the chandeliers are glistening, the windows are sparkling—and you’re falling asleep. While it’s lovely to have them sparkle and shine, chandeliers and windows are not imperative to making your home kosher for Passover. Passover cleaning is any place that there’s a very good chance that food was brought in. If you know there was no food brought there, then it doesn’t have to be cleaned. Even food that’s been stuck on the wall, if it’s more dirt than food, it doesn’t have to be scrubbed. For something to be considered chametz, it needs to be edible and accessible.
4. Poor man’s bread or bread that makes us poor
For those buying only foods certified kosher for Passover, the holiday can be very expensive. But you don’t have to make matzah or other processed foods mainstays of your meals. Instead, focus on in-season fruits and vegetables. Before heading to the supermarket, create a menu and shopping list, then stick to it.
5. Don’t buy an entire kitchen your first year
If you are making your house strictly kosher for Passover, you will need to pack away your year-round dishes and cookware and replace them with Passover ones. However, you can build up your Passover collection gradually. Start with just the few crucial items the first year and each year buy a few more things
6. Your best friend is your list
From a cleaning to-do list to detailed shopping lists, from last-minute reminders to menus, lists will save your life. Don’t let the mental to-do list overwhelm you — get it all down on paper and rest assured nothing will be forgotten. Keep everything in one place (or on your smartphone).
7. Passover doesn’t have to be Pinterest worthy
While many people believe everything has to be picture-perfect, simplifying can make your life much easier. Plan a new and fancy dish here and there if it gives you pleasure, but don’t feel like you must. Where possible, cook things in advance and freeze them.
8. Leave the bitterness to the maror
The last thing you want is to have a chip on your shoulder when it comes to holiday traditions. If you do feel resentful about the amount of work that goes into holiday preparations, then something needs to change ASAP. Try to shift your thinking from “yet another thing I have to do” to a place of “we have an opportunity here.” Focus on what’s most important about Passover: the seders, time with family and loved ones.
9. Enjoy and create new traditions
My mother-in-law makes a special orange soup for Passover, and all her grown children now make it as well, because it’s a beloved tradition. You may think, who cares, it’s just soup … or it’s just the annual Passover week trip to the park. But these are exactly the things that make Passover special. Here are some ideas to make holiday prep more fun: putting music on when cleaning, giving out prizes (to yourself as well as others) for accomplishing specific tasks, new toys for the holiday, create photo contests with friends or family members of “funniest items found while cleaning for Passover.”
10. When all is said and done, get it in writing!
Passover is over, and the last thing you want to do is look at one more list, let alone go through it. But hang in there and jot down what worked, what didn’t, if you bought too much matzah or not enough. Write down that new trick you came up with to help the kids enjoy the seder. You will thank yourself next year.
Duby Litvin lives in Louisville, Ky. with her husband, Shmully, and when she is not making lists, she owns a small kosher bakery and dabbles in writing children’s literature. Connect with her at MrsDuby@gmail.com or go to www.DubysPesachLists.com.)