March 25 marks the beginning of Passover this year. If you are Jewish, it is week when family and community come together to celebrate the Exodus.
The hallmark of this observance is the removal of all leaven from the home, which commemorates the fact that the Jews leaving Egypt were in a hurry, and did not have time to let their bread rise. It is also a symbolic way to remove the “puffiness,” or arrogance and pride, from the soul.
The preparation of the home for Passover is no small undertaking. Leaven includes anything made from the five major grains (wheat, rye, barely, oats, and spelt) that has not been completely cooked within 18 minutes after coming into contact with water. So to prepare correctly, the kitchen must be prepared for several weeks. Counters need to be scrubbed down, stovetops and refrigerators need to be wiped clean, and shelf-liners should be cleansed. Whew!
The Good News…
The good news is you can get the house prepared without losing your mind completely, even if you work full-time. The secret: break big tasks down into smaller 5 or 10-minute increments and enlist the help of others. The five pointers below will help you get started. And even if you’re not Jewish, but are on the lookout for smart ways to get a head start on your spring cleaning, the tips below are useful.
Every time you watch TV this week, use the two-minute commercial breaks to make a little headway on kitchen cleanup. Arm everyone who is watching TV with a sponge. At the start of every commercial break, head into the kitchen and scrub one thing. By the end of the evening, you should be in much better shape than you started – and you got to enjoy your shows!
Break the Task Down
Any large project, when viewed head-on is daunting and lead to feelings of inertia (where do I get started?). Rather than thinking about “getting the house ready for Passover,” break it down into smaller, bite-sized tasks. It’s easier to see how you can give the counters a good scrub, and therefore easier to get started. Stack up enough small tasks, and lo and behold, you’ll have completed the big project.
Eat it Up
Passover this year starts at sunset on March 25th. A great way to make sure the cleaning out of all the food in the house is a simple process is to eat up what is in the house during the weeks leading up to the holiday. Not just the bread, cookies, and crackers, but also use this as a time to eat up leftovers in the refrigerator and freezer so that there will be more room for the dishes you will be cooking.
Forced Spring Cleaning
It is great to extend Passover beyond just the food in the kitchen. Consider this your opportunity to do a spring clean in the kitchen and maybe even the dining room areas. Think about how you can simplify along with organize and items. Anything you have not used in over a year, like the lemon zester or apple corer, but is still functional consider donating to soup kitchen.
Simplify After the Holiday
Once Passover has passed and you are back to doing your regular grocery shopping again, streamline the items you stock in your kitchen. Do you need three different salad dressings? Is it really important to have five different shapes of pasta in your pantry? Make a few changes to simplify now and this time next year you’ll have a lot less to go through.