With Purim ending, I am reminded that I really need to get moving on our Pesach/Passover preparations. To get everything done in time and have time to cook without being crazed, it is crucial for us to start cleaning and other preparations.
I start each year’s preparations by pulling up my master Pesach checklist and editing it as needed. I take a look at my notes from the previous year and make any changes (like things I want to do better or tips I learned).
Do you have your own master Pesach list?
If you are just getting started, or want to get some new ideas for your current list, here is my current Pesach Prep list. Of course, yours needs to be specific to your home and your family, but I hope mine gives you some ideas!
- a timeline of tasks to be done
- an inventory of supplies we own for Pesach (this helps with deciding what we need or want to buy this year)
- our perpetual list of Pesach groceries and supplies to buy each year
- a wish list of items we might like to get (over the years throughout our marriage we have added a few things here and there)
If you look at the Pesach prep list, your first tasks should be placing any orders for food and matzah, printing reference lists for the holiday (your local kashrus agency, the OU, CRC), and determining a schedule for your other cleaning and preparations. I have an ideal schedule on the list, but I have to alter it based on when I am really getting started!
For a great e-book on Pesach preparations, see my post “Review: Jewish-Life-Organized.com.”
I have a separate computer file with Menu ideas we have liked and used over the years. I print out my updated copies of these two lists and store them in a binder with other materials needed for Pesach. See my post “Setting up your Pesach Control Journal.”
Refining your list
Once you have your list started, you may want to get tips from other sources to refine your list. Here are a few tips I have learned over the years that you may want to include:
∞ Changing your cleaning order is okay! I sometimes have to do this depending on how much I get done in those first few weeks. I learned last year that it is okay to turn the kitchen over if the other rooms are not done. I kept cleaning those last few days before Pesach while my husband started cooking! The living room and dining room are always last, though!
∞ Resist the urge to spring clean or you will not get done in time! I try to remind myself that “dust is not chometz!” It is okay to have some other cleaning and decluttering tasks that get done after Pesach or in the summer.
∞ Order paper goods early. I usually compare prices from several different online retailers as well as Sam’s or Costco. Amazon had great prices last year and since we have Prime they came in time even though I ordered later than I would have liked. See my post “Ways we save money on Pesach needs” for more tips.
∞ Don’t wait to do your Passover shopping! Last year we kept waiting until closer to Pesach to get our groceries, but by the time we did our shopping, some popular items were already gone (like margarine, salad dressing, and pickles). So I will remember to at least get those few things early, even if I am not ready or do not have the money to do my full shopping trip yet.
∞ Be sure to read all of the alerts and shopping guides before you go shopping for your groceries! You definitely can’t assume that the rules will be the same from year to year. Products change and unfortunately you have to read the alerts and guides carefully to find those changes (like what name brand products are Kosher for Passover)!
∞ Save (or get) some empty boxes for moving non-Pesach stuff down to basement. We always use plastic crates to take down the pantry stuff, but the utensils, mitts, paper towel holder, and all the other stuff on the counters, needs somewhere to go, too! We end up using lots of reusable Whole Foods bags, but they don’t stack so well and the laundry room looks a mess!
∞ Read recipes carefully before putting them on the menu. We have put things on the menu that look good, but end up being too much work and never get made because we run out of time! See my post on “Chometz cookbooks for Pesach?” for coordinating your recipes.
∞ Planning the week before Pesach is just as important as the cleaning and menu planning for Pesach. Check out my posts “What do you do with all that bread?” and “There has to be more to eat before Pesach than potatoes.”
∞ When you buy things during the year, add them to your “Pesach Prep” box so you will be sure to tovul it before the next Pesach.
∞ Reflect after each year’s holiday. Think about what you want to change or do differently and what you would like to buy for next year and record those notes on your Pesach prep list. Be sure to also create an inventory of leftover food that you plan to save for the next year. If you have too many of a certain item, adjust your master shopping list.