This is the outline of what I said in my Live Broadcast on Instagram last night, after someone asked me to do a video on Pesach prep.
First, there are tons of amazing resources online that are definitely more comprehensive than me, so check those out. Between Carpools has a downloadable guide, Ruchi Koval’s How to Clean For Pesach In One Day, and there are many other resources online that I’ve seen bandied about.
This is what works for me, and every family is different, has different needs and minhagim so please, please always ask your LOR (local Orthodox rabbi), don’t go by what I say. I am, obviously, not a Rav.
Rabbi Boruch Hirshfeld has been giving shiurim on hilchos Pesach which is great, and he mentioned that the first thing you have to do is decide when you’re turning over, and then work backwards from that.
We’re planning to turn over the Sunday before Pesach. That’s April 5th. We’ll block off our sinks Motzash and then turn over Sunday night. My husband is working Sunday (like always), so I won’t be able to do it all until the evening anyways.
But my kids can still help! And since we all have an abundance of helpers right now (hahaha), enlist them however you can. My big boys shlepped groceries down to my Pesach kitchen today. My kids love shpritzing things with cleaner, so they can help with the fridge, the walls, whatever keeps them busy but doesn’t make you stressed out. And if you just want to stick them on a screen while you do things in peace, hey, no judgment, but I do think that it’s worth it to give them even just one job, if that’s not too overwhelming of an idea. It makes them feel great and invested and it’s also cute, and we need cute things.
But this isn’t a parenting class, so on with the Pesach stuff.
Right now I’m just asking my kids to keep chometz in the kitchen and not wander around with it. I gave up on my no-food-upstairs rule bc my ADHD kids just cannot. So we try to at least keep chometz out of the upstairs and more or less it works.
The week before Pesach (which is next week, people), I will switch to exclusively feeding them kitniyos snacks. Much less stressful. Plus my kids are obsessed with popcorn and cheese puffs so it’s not so hard to enforce. Also rice cakes, cheese,
I clean as little as possible. You heard me right. Pesach cleaning is not spring cleaning, and if I’m not planning to be in a space, I just don’t clean there. I’m talking behind the stove, behind the fridge, those kind of places. Yes, they should be cleaned, preferably more than once a year, but not now. I don’t clean out my cabinets and drawers, I just close them and tape them off. I usually clear out my pantry and put my Pesach stuff there (so I don’t have to constantly shlep from the basement where my Pesach kitchen is), but this year I’m not even doing that, I’m just closing it off and selling it.
I will clean them (ideally, lolololll) after Pesach.
Toys. Ugh. My least favorite thing. This used to make me crazy, so now I just have the kids select a small amount of toys that they can’t last a week without, and those I clean, all the other toys I sell. Maybe if you never have chometz around your toys, your life might be differnet. But I’ve found cheerios, pretzel pieces, all kinds of chometz in my kids’ toys, so into the tub with some soap they go. I stuff as much toys as possible into our closets in the basement and block off the doors with tape and furniture or heavy items. I do not mess around.
I have some special games and toys that are only for Pesach, and every year I increase that stash a little bit. We have Marble Run, playstix, battleship. I got a few new things this year before everything happen, BH.
And then I’ll do the best I can with the bedrooms, checking the drawers, under the beds, closets, etc., but again, if I miss anything, it’s okay, it will get nullified. Just do the best you can.
No one here is allowed to have cleaning help anymore. It’s no joke.
This is something that would be great to get the kids, especially little ones, involved.
So I am blessed with a Pesach kitchen, which I never even dreamed I would get. It’s my laundry room, and it doesn’t have cabinets or a kitchen sink (just the semi-gross laundry sink), but it’s a workable space with a fridge and a stove and I do not take it for granted. I usually turn over right after Purim but OBVIOUSLY this year is different. I’m almost turned over there, just need to cover the counters.
But enough about me. If you don’t have a Pesach kitchen but want to at least start with some supplies, what to do? Clear out a designated space in your house that’s low traffic, clean that for Pesach (or at least just put down a plastic table liner or an amazon box or something) and put things there.
This year I think we all want to minimize the amount of shopping we do, but the nature of Pesach means you will likely be making multiple trips, no matter how organized you are. Either the store will be out, or just the fact that we can’t buy perishables until closer to the chag.
Just do the best you can. And sanitize things and wash your hands a lot. It’s very freaky.
So, because I am very, very type A, I keep a Google Doc from year to year of what I make, what I have left over in the freezer (yes I freeze my spices, yes they’re probably not as tasty, doesn’t matter because we’re not having guests this year anyways). That helps with the shopping (there was one year I was convinced I needed a mountain of ground nuts for some dessert that I didn’t even end up making, so I am STILL working through those nuts. I freeze them every year and every year I use just a little more. Hence why I compulsively keep lists now).
This year will obviously be a very different kind of list-keeping year, but I think it’s still worthwhile, at least for historical reasons.
Some things I always feel like I need more than necessary of, like shredded cheese, but that kind of stuff I anyways freeze and can happily use after Pesach. My kids basically live on machine matzah with a small variation in toppings – pizza matzah, matzah with cream cheese, matzah with cream cheese and honey, gefrishte matzah, you get the idea.
So looking at the calendar, you can plan when you need meat, when you need ot make a meal, when you can just eat matzah with cream cheese etc.
Okay, that’s basically what I talked about in my Livestream, and then I added that you should all make Yapchik for Shabbos because it is the best, and you can’t really use a crockpot when Yom Tov goes into Shabbos (though maybe people do?) so this is a great solution.
And here are some classes that I really got a lot out of: