Around the House: Get Organized for Pesach Early by Starting, “Cleaning before Cleaning”

Around the House: Get Organized for Pesach Early by Starting, “Cleaning before Cleaning”

By Yehudit Garmaise

As Pesach draws near, we start to notice more and more things that we want to organize, improve, and replace around our houses, which we want to look perfect and regal for the seders.

Since no one can grocery shop, turn over a kitchen, cook six multi-course meals, shop for new curtains, and reorganize overstuffed closets, I have learned to start the non-essential Yom Tov preps way in advance.

With 42 days until the first seder, we can start to look around and ask ourselves, “What can I start to check off my list so I can prevent feeling overburdened at ‘crunch-time’ in April? 

1. Make sure your hand-held vacuum cleaner works well. When our handheld vacuum, which was never all that powerful, finally died, I bought a different brand. The one I bought plugs in, but it is much more powerful than the previous one I had. If you want to use it inside your car, you can use a long extension cord to bring it outside.

For getting the crumbs out of drawers and shelves before scrubbing them down, a powerful hand-hand vacuum cleaner will be crucial.

2. Time to clean out the front hall closet. The time has arrived. You may think, “Nobody eats in there,” but I was surprised one Shabbos to find my youngest daughter and her best friend giggling, sitting under the coats, and eating their desserts.

Make a sincere first effort to get rid of all the wrappers, any uneaten lunches, and other crumbs that likely have fallen out of jackets and backpacks that are stored in your front hall closet.

You will need to vacuum it out one more time, of course, but take the time now to get rid of the clutter by: getting rid of coats no one wears anymore, giving away any bags of old clothes, throwing away trash, and generally straightening things up so in five weeks, you can clean your front hall closet very quickly.

3. Do a paper purge: Of course, paper isn’t chametz, but getting rid of old magazines, newspapers, kids’ old worksheets, and junk mail is part of cleaning up. Start the process now, so you have one less thing to do when you are cooking or grating apples for charoset.

4. Clean or replace your curtains. When your house is the cleanest it will be all year long, will your curtains add or detract from the elegance? If your curtains are still in good shape, get them cleaned now. Depending on what kind of drapes they are, you can have someone come and steam clean them, take them to the cleaners, and sometimes, you can wash them in cold water yourself and hang them to dry. If your drapes have seen better days, take the time now to look for some new ones. Also consider whether your curtain rods and curtain hold-back hardware can use upgrades.

5. Get your carpets shampooed in the next few weeks. Nothing makes a room look and smell more fresh and clean than newly shampooed carpets.  Just remind everyone: no food and drinks in any room with newly cleaned carpets. 

6. Spruce up your guest room. Are you having guests for Yom Tov? Make sure you have new or new-ish sheets, quilts, extra blankets, and new, fluffy towels for your overnight guests. 

Now is a good time to make sure you have what you need to provide: a Shabbos lamp, an alarm clock, a wig head, a shtreimel box, Advil, Kleenex, a luggage stand, and a stocked bathroom so your guests will feel comfortable and at home. 

Check out our past columns for tips on how to treat guests with love, care, and respect.

7. Start shopping for kids’ new clothing and shoes as possible. Get this out of the way as soon as possible, so you can enjoy shopping with your children and don’t feel stressed while you are doing it.

8. Start collecting cute and perfect prizes, toys, and books to have on hand for kids who say the four questions, find the afikomen, and help their Mommies and Tatties with Pesach Prep and throughout Yom Tov. 

9. Thursday, April 25, is the only full day of Chol Hamoed, so start planning now, so you know how you will answer your kids when they start to ask in earnest, “Where are we going for our trip??”

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