Around the House: Keep Your Home Nice and Tidy, All Year
By Yehudit Garmaise
After we organize, vacuum, scrub, and give things away on Erev Pesach, we often question ourselves, how do we maintain such a beautifully high level of cleanliness all year round?
"Tiny cleaning strategies accumulate throughout each day to create huge and visible benefits that create big changes in homes," Rochel Miriam told BoroPark24.
Start by making your bed: first thing in the morning. Not only will your room look neater, but when we make our beds, we signal to ourselves that we are cleaning up after ourselves as we go and starting our day with b’zrezus and productivity.
Throw in one load of laundry: first thing in the morning, if you have easy access to a washing machine so that laundry does not pile up again after getting through the post-Pesach piles of dirty clothing, sheets, and towels.
Do a “morning sweep or vacuum:” after everyone leaves the house to clean up messes after the troops eat their breakfasts and make their lunches. Sweep the floors, including the bathroom floors, wipe down kitchen counters, wash the dishes, or put them in the dishwasher, so you can start your day with sanity. Dyson and Shark vacuums are the best, according to workers at a professional cleaning service.
Spray the bathrooms: Use Lysol or Mrs. Meyers sprays to wipe down bathroom sinks, mirrors, and faucets, every day. Grab dirty towels and clothing to toss into hampers.
Pick up one item and put it away: every time you leave a room. To cut down or cut out cleaning time later, simply pick up each offending item, one at a time, as you move around our homes.
Throw away what you can: as soon as possible. “I don’t hoard anything,” said Rochel Miriam, who regularly donates old clothes, kids’ books and toys, and takes photos on her phone of important documents, so she can toss unnecessary paper. “Constant de-cluttering makes Pesach cleaning easy, makes life easier throughout the whole year, and keeps our home minimalistic.”
Choose one area to tackle each day: each day of the week, so you don’t have to clean the whole house at once, such as on Friday mornings.
“When I have a little time each day, I choose one shelf, cabinet, or area that I need to go through and assess what needs to be thrown out, reorganized, and cleaned,” Tzipporah said.
Give family members of all ages jobs that they are expected to do every day, such as: make their beds, rinse off plates, bowls, and silverware and put them in the dishwasher, throw all used towels and clothing in laundry hampers, hang up their own coats, put shoes in designated shoe storage areas at front entrances, and empty trash cans.
Shrug your shoulders and do quiet chesed if family members “forget” to do their regular jobs. While gentle, loving reminders and rewards for compliance can go a long way, don’t turn your quest for tidiness into a battleground.
“Let go of the need to be perfect,” advises Rebekah Saltzman, the creator of the “Balagan be Gone” group. “Focus only on what you can control, and let the rest slide.”
“Focus on the beauty of your family and Pesach. Don’t let your stress about your home not being 100% immaculate ruin Yom Tov for you,” Saltzman writes.
Just say, “Mazel Tov,” when things break, spill, and do not go as planned. “A kittel that is not stained by wine," said Rav Yitzchak Hutner, the longtime dean of Yeshiva Chiam Berlin, “is like a Yom Kippur’dike machzor that is not covered in tears.”
"When forced to clean an area again in the next few days as messes continue to be made, remember Hashem is giving you an opportunity to stay calm and react with kindness," says Rav Elimelech Biderman, in his just-released Haggadah.
“Our koach comes from rising to such occasions,” Rav Biderman says. “The opportunities to create malachim are everywhere.”
Kitchen done by: Buckingham kitchen design solutions