There are many ways to make Pesach. None of them have to involve tears, extreme fatigue, or a week of pizza bagels. In this column we’ll meet women with vastly different methods, but who all share the goal of reaching Pesach calmly and happily.
Name: Chani Levin*
From: Lakewood, NJ
Been making Pesach for: 11 years
Cleaning crew: Me and my big girls
Motto: On Seder night we will be ready just like everyone else, no matter how ahead someone else is now.
Approach: I work full time and b”H have a family who needs laundry and food even before Pesach, so I have to spread out the cleaning. I write lists and schedules and rewrite them as I go along.
I start by:
Organizing. I do this Tu B’Shvat time, because when I’m Pesach cleaning I just empty, wipe, and lock up. So I check the medicine cabinet for expired medicines, organize the linen closets…it’s not happening erev Pesach! I also start thinking about Pesach when I shop. Do I really need six bags of lokshen? From the beginning of Adar through Purim, I’m busy with Purim, so my real cleaning starts after Purim.
I start cleaning the places the kids can’t get to. I clean whenever I have a spare hour, working on my bedroom, or my freezer (even if I put chametz back in it, it’ll be easier to clean it erev Pesach).
I start the bedrooms on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. They take me about a week. I lock up most bedroom closets and drawers—this way, my husband doesn’t need to do bedikas chametz on them. The clean laundry just stays in laundry baskets over Pesach.
I spend the next week cleaning my kitchen and shopping. I don’t scrub my pots or oven—that black isn’t chametz. If it’s clean enough for me all year round, it’s clean enough for Pesach.
I lock up all my cabinets. I bought a plastic cabinet for my groceries. I don’t have to empty or line shelves—I put all of my groceries straight from the bags into the closest. As far as pots, pans, and silverware, I don’t have that much and whatever I have is always on my counter—either it’s being washed or it needs to be washed. If something’s not in use, or if I’ve finished with the mixer, I put it back in the box and keep it in my bedroom.
I finish cleaning
The day before bedikas chametz. I turn over the day of bedikas chametz. That night, I finish the laundry. Not everything is folded, but it’s washed. My house is orderly, organized, and clean—besides for all the clothing I can’t put away. My husband splits bedikas chametz into three nights because he does a very thorough job…it’s erev Pesach in my house for a long time.
I cook on Erev Pesach with my house clean and all laundry done. (I’ve tried to do it earlier but this works for us.)I just make the basics for the Seder.
I save time by
Selling the stuff I don’t want to use or scrub! I put all those things—the toaster oven, crockpot, microwave— in the garage, lock it, and sell it. Even our stroller—I know it’s bound to have chametz in it, so if we don’t absolutely need it, I do a quick clean and sell it.
My favorite trick
Every year I buy a new toy for each age range. I keep those toys as my Pesach toys. By now I have a nice collection so I don’t feel pressured to clean the rest of my toys—I just look to make sure there’s no chametz, and then sell them.
(Originally featured in Family First Issue 486)
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