I Love Pesach Cleaning| March 28, 2023
My house is a mess because I’m a messy person
this isn’t an article about Pesach cleaning. You’ll get plenty of advice about Pesach cleaning from others.
This is about not cleaning.
Once all my children were married, and my house still looked as full and as untidy as it had for the last 30 years, I realized just who it was causing the mess.
It’s not that I’ve never thought about decluttering.
But I’m no Marie Kondo. Who says you should only keep things that spark joy? If I were to go through everything in my house and only keep those things that give me joy, I’d be left with just my husband and children. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the things I have, but really, does my happiness come from things like dresses and knickknacks? I’m afraid I just don’t go for that.
My house is a mess because I’m a messy person. The Hebrew word balaganistit describes me perfectly.
The FlyLady lost me when she said you should never go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink, and that you should clean and shine the sink every night so it will smile back at you when you look at it in the morning.
I’m not interested in anyone or anything smiling back at me in the morning. Well, not before three cups of coffee.
The name “Messies Anonymous” really appealed to me when I discovered it many years ago — although anyone who tells me to make my bed immediately on waking is doomed to lose me as a friend.
Not surprisingly, I discovered that the method of cleaning and clearing that appealed the most to me was the non-cleaning method.
“Life is too short to stuff a mushroom,” is a quote I repeat when I see a recipe with far too many ingredients and multiple stages.
For years when I had little kids at home, I took someone’s advice and kept a broom by the front door; I always picked it up when someone knocked, so as to appear to be in the middle of cleaning up. Even if the house behind me looked like there’d just been an earthquake, it was clear I was on top of things and about to sort it all out.
As you now know what era I belong to, I can admit that another lady I love to quote is Erma Bombeck, who said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.”
Erma is very quotable, especially when it comes to cleaning — and it’s more fun to quote people than actually do housework.
“My theory on housework,” says Erma, “is if the item doesn’t multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?“
It’s interesting that all my heroines who tried to avoid housework were active (or should I say inactive) many years ago. It just isn’t cool nowadays to admit you hate housework. Cleaning is supposed to invigorate you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
I’m afraid it just exhausts me.
After that long tirade, you’ll probably find this difficult to believe… but I love the fact that I have to Pesach clean. (I know I said this wasn’t going to be about Pesach cleaning — I really tried not to bring it up.) If I didn’t have to turn the house upside down once a year in search of chometz, how would I find that missing puzzle piece — the one causes meltdowns when my grandchildren have almost finished putting the puzzle together, only to discover there’s a piece missing? How would I find the second suction pad for the baby stair gate (which I almost threw away, as it was unusable without that second piece, but I had a hunch I’d find it after Purim)?
The only real problem is that when stuff goes missing on Pesach, I know it’s going to take almost a year until I find it. Unless I have a belated midlife crisis and decide that stuffing mushrooms does indeed spark joy in me.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 837)
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