It’s a good thing I saved last week’s Pesach cleaning schedule from Mishpacha magazine, because you won’t find the “de-stressors” in the column below. (Something Different aptly named them distressors.) Instead Lowinger gives us “Clutter-Control Activities.”
Glossary at the end.
It’s probably not a good idea to tackle the piles of clutter so close to Yom Tov. [Can we go with that instinct?] Still, spend a few minutes each day getting all the extra “stuff” out of the way.
- Sunday. Our peripheral areas should be Pesachdig. It’s time to tackle the nitty-gritty. Today, the living room. Vacuum the couches. Ask the men to do the bookcases. [I think that's cheating.] Clutter-Control Activity: Collect all old periodicals. Clip anything you still need and file it. Get rid of everything else, after checking for sheimes. Consider donating old magazines to a local hospital or bikur cholim.
- Monday. Once you’ve determined that remaining pre-Pesach Shabbos chometz will be eaten elsewhere, it’s time to begin the dining room. First work on the breakfront, polishing the silver, wiping the shelves, and rearranging knicknacks. Then clean chandeliers or lighting fixtures with an appropriate cleanser. [!!] Clutter-Control Activity: Do you really need six bud vases? Eight candy dishes? Thirty-two bechers? Instead of them collecting dust, offer them to a young couple just starting out or to an organization that might need them. [What if I did that last year?]
- Tuesday. Cleaning the dining room table and chairs is a real “job,” and deserves an entire day’s attention. If your cleaning lady comes today, enlist her assistance. [More cheating. Where was the cleaning lady last week when we needed her?] Clean all surfaces meticulously. If your table has leaves, clean between the sections. Don’t forget to clean thoroughly underneath the pedestal or legs. Clutter-Control Activity: All mail should be sorted as soon as it comes to the house. Junk mail should be trashed immediately, invitations should be filed as well as bills, tzedaka envelopes, and anything else that needs attention.
- Wednesday. By now, you should have a chometz area for anything that needs to be put away over Yom Tov, like the challah board and challah covers. Clean them thoroughly first. Clutter-Control Activity: Those lower shelves and drawers of your bookcase or breakfront are “clutter” magnets. Any tchatchkeh that has no place ends up there. Don’t be scared to throw away or give away intriguing, but useless, items.
- Thursday. If you’re like the rest of us [I'm not], you have a collection of bentschers from every wedding since 1977. [Okay, I am. But 1977?] Put those that are hopelessly ruined in sheimos. Clean and store the usable ones in the chometz area. Clutter-Control Activity: If your bentschers are sorted, that’s your clutter-control activity for the day.
- Friday. Another successful week of cleaning done. Keep Shabbos prep in the kitchen. Explain to children that the dining room is off limits to chometz. Many families are already using Pesachdig Shabbos treats, just in case. Others cover the dining room table with large plastic bags until Erev Pesach. Clutter-Control Activity: Clutter can happen anywhere. In fact, there’s probably some serious clutter in your fridge. Use up or discard open jars of sauerkraut, sauce, and pickled herring. Enjoy Shabbos. Next week we tackle the kitchen!
I find myself more annoyed than amused by this column. There’s nothing wrong with starting early, nor with her basic schedule. True, I won’t dedicate a whole day to the dining room table and chairs, and I can’t fit everyone into my kitchen for Shabbos meals. But (far) underneath, all she’s saying is to distribute the heavy work among different days and helpers, and start thinking about how to keep the house clean when you are busy cooking for the holiday.
My main objection is the “Boro Parkiness” oozing through, including the cleaning lady, pedestals, chandeliers, 32 bechers, and the sheitel cut from last week. I’m surprised that Mishpacha isn’t interested in appealing to a broader audience.
And if your chandeliers aren’t sparkling by now, better wait until next year.
Pesachdig: Kosher for Passover; Sheimes: Pages with Jewish holy writings disposed of by burial; Bechers: Silver wine cups. Bikur Cholim: A society that arranges visiting the sick; Shabbos: Sabbath; Chometz: Leavened food, forbidden to eat or even own on Passover; Tzedakah: Charity; Tzatchkehs: Decorative objects; Bentschers: Booklets containing the prayers after meals, usually imprinted as favors and distributed at weddings and bar mitzvahs. Sheitel: Wig often worn by married, observant Jewish women.
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