Purim is behind us. The eating, dancing, and partying are now hopefully pleasant memories (Notice that I didn’t mention the drinking, which may have left other kinds of memories). You know what that means. Yes, you guessed it! Pesach is on the way. Close, actually. For those of you who are beginning to feel the pressure, this life-changing article is for you.
Every year, I strategize about how to get to the finish line intact, with as little stress as possible. I hate that last-minute pressure. But how early can you possibly change over your kitchen? Some things must be left to the last few days. But many other things can be done well in advance.
As an aside, since every aspect of the preparation must be done before Pesach, Pesach prep would seem to be a mitzvas asei she’ha’zman grama, a time-bound mitzvah from which women are generally exempt. I often ponder why women are not exempt in this particular case? Why are the cooking and cleaning tips that are publicized in all of the frum magazines these days not geared toward the men who are not exempt from time-bound mitzvos? Just wondering.
I always try to start early, and I succeed to some degree. But now I finally figured out how to really get the ball rolling before the last-minute crunch. I will share with you my newly tried-and-true approach and you will thank me. Yes, you will flood my Inbox with heartfelt letters of gratitude for my revealing the secret I’m about to share.
How can we motivate ourselves to throw ourselves deep into Pesach prep well before the tick of the holiday clock reaches a crescendo? Simple. Find a shidduch for your child. That’s all it takes. Make a shidduch and then even more importantly, make a party. You’ll see how quickly you can whip your house into shape. Baruch Hashem, our son just got engaged to a lovely girl, and the transformation of our home to one that is up-to-snuff is steadily taking place before our very eyes. It’s a miracle!
First, you must start with the big things. For example, those of you who have had a difficult-to-diagnose but ongoing water problem/leak from your living room ceiling will be amazed by how quickly the problem can be diagnosed and on the way to resolution when your child gets engaged. True, it can be a bit tricky fixing things on the roof during the rainy season. But I don’t believe it would go over very well if baalei simchah would distribute umbrellas to guests upon their arrival to wish Mazal Tov, even if the umbrellas were personalized with a precious photo of the smiling chasan and kallah. A shidduch is a shidduch. What needs fixing must be fixed. No matter what.
Then there’s the cleaning. We had the same cleaner for 14 years when we lived in our old house. She became part of our family and attends our smachot. But once we moved, she didn’t want to travel to our new neighborhood. How sad I was. Since then, none of the cleaners I’ve tried have lasted very long and now I’m in charge of cleaning our home. Suzie Homemaker at your service.
Most people living in my home don’t notice when I’ve taken the time to clean it. Sometimes I wonder why I bother. I do a decent job, but I don’t believe I will be winning the Good Housekeeping award any time soon. But now that my son got engaged, my cleaning skills have exponentially improved overnight!
In truth, the main floor where the party takes place is the only part of the house that must be made presentable. But to do that properly, other areas of the house need to be reorganized, as well. All the junk important items that no longer serve a purpose in the living and dining room areas need to find a new home where they can once again collect dust. Just relocating piles of junk is not efficient. Cleaning and organizing must begin in earnest.
So, I got started. I filled up bags, some with garbage and some with giveaway items, and created space downstairs for the main floor overflow stuff, which by next year will probably be in garbage or giveaway bags, as well. The sheimos collection is now in the sheimos bin. I invite you to visit my home and perform a white glove test on my furniture. I challenge you to find one speck of dust. Just one. Trust me. You won’t. “This room is now kasher l’Pesach” signs can be hung around my home, and this was the case even before Purim. Amazing!
I felt great satisfaction as I cleaned inside my living and dining room cabinets one by one, knowing that this head-start will free up the time I need for wedding preparations later on. But nobody noticed the change but me. But when the books, newspapers, toys, and other miscellaneous items suddenly disappeared from the open areas, my kids began to take notice. “Wow! This room looks so clean,” they commented with a combination of surprise and admiration. “Where did all our stuff go?” they wondered. “Did somebody shine our silver?” they asked. The brilliant luster is something they could not possibly miss because I don’t believe our silver has been polished since last Pesach. But now it’s sparkling. Maybe I will get an award after all.
The only downside to early Pesach prep is the need for maintenance. With our vort behind us, I’m beginning to see some cracks in the organization of my immaculate home. And we’ve still got a few weeks until Pesach. I’ve got to do something fast before my home returns to its former state. Anyone out there looking for a shidduch?