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The One To Zen Organizing Blog

Breathe in Calm, Breathe out Clutter

  • Writer's pictureJill Katz

Spring Cleaning Passover Style: Tips & Trips to Master Any Seasonal Events Or Tasks


Pink background filled with images of cleaning supplies, flowers, and passover symbols including matzah, a cup of red wine, happy passover and the seder plate

The Story

Every year during March & April, my social media feed is filled with fellow organizers talking about spring cleaning. And I ignore every post. Why? Because as an observant Jew, I deal annually with the phenomenon of Passover cleaning, a monumental undertaking that makes typical spring cleaning pale in comparison.


To give some context, Passover is a religious holiday most well known to the masses for its dinner or Seder and for special food called Matzah. But for those that observe the laws of Passover in totality, here is what Passover means:


A woman standing in kitchen wearing kitchen gloves holding a cleaner and wiping moving a rag across her forehead
This is hard work!
  • Ridding your home of any crumbs, even those hiding in kids backpacks, your car, under couch cushions

  • Ridding your home of all regular food since they might have a tiny bit of “Chametz” or unleavened bread which isn’t allowed on Passover

  • Replacing your entire pantry of food with Kosher for Passover food including spices and oils

  • Scrubbing your kitchen, including stovetop, oven, and refrigerator so it looks brand new

  • Moving out your old dishes, utensils and pots/pans  (and you have 2 sets for milk & meat) and moving in your Passover sets

  • Cooking for an average of 12-20 people for the Seders (observant Jews have 2 nights of Seder) with special recipes that have no bread, flour, rice and beans in them.

  • Cooking for the other days of Passover since your usual go-to foods are gone

  • Readying your home for guests

  • Switching everything back in a week when Passover is over

  • Throwing in other “spring cleaning” errands if you can like carpet/rug cleaning, lawn/garden spring cleanups, window cleaning, pillow cover cleaning, etc.



The Strategy: Mastering Passover Prep & Spring Cleaning

Over the years, I have learned some tricks that help me organize my Passover Spring Cleaning. You can apply these strategies for any event in your life that needs special attention including spring cleaning, a move, a wedding, a Graduation, etc.:


Woman smiling and standing behind a full shopping cart in front of Costco
My first of many Passover shoppings: I always start at Costco!

Start Early

My preparations for Passover start 4 weeks before the actual holiday. Those first 2 weeks allow me to do things that aren’t as necessary such as a general spring cleaning of my home, outdoor landscaping, inviting guests, seder themes and general passover purchases. I also choose the date on which I plan to switch my kitchen from regular to Passover (a huge project in itself). The last two weeks are much more intense, focusing on setting the menu, shopping, and necessary cleaning. 


Spreadsheet the hell out of it,( yes, spreadsheet can be used as a verb)

I use spreadsheets for everything and Passover planning is no different. Every year, the first thing I do when it’s 4 weeks before Passover, is to pull up my spreadsheet and make a copy that I rename with the current year.  Then I open up my spreadsheet and change the dates and make the tweaks for this years holiday.

 I have 3 tabs for my Passover Planning:

  • Tab 1: Dates & Weekly Planning

  • Tab 2: Shopping

  • Tab 3: Menu & Cooking Schedule

Tab 1 is the master list with all the important dates and a timeline. The top of the page has the date that Passover begins and when it ends (Passover is 8 days). I also list the all important date when I change over my kitchen from "Chametz," aka my year-round kitchen to "Passover,"when I can only eat and prepare special Passover foods. This master list also tells me when I should be shopping (Tab 2) and when I should be refering to my Cooking Tab for details (Tab 3)


Put a gate around it

I block entire days off for cleaning, shopping, cooking, hosting (if I have family/friends staying in my home), and enjoying the holiday. It seems obvious to do this and yet it took me many years of running around crazily before I gave myself this grace. Is there a week in your life where you can give yourself this gift? - Perhaps a week when your kids are out of school or there is a big holiday or even a date where you need extra time to grieve a death. When you have something that happens annually that needs your attention, it's best to cut yourself some slack that entire week.


Use your Calendar for Recurring dates

We have birthdays and holidays in our calendar, why not put use this strategy for seasonal tasks like, "Clean the Gutters" or "Start Mowing Lawn?" I put as many annual or seasonal tasks as possible on my google calendar as a recurring annual task so I don't have to rely on my own memory.


In Conclusion

As I navigate the intricacies of Passover preparation each year, I can't help but wonder: What strategies could others adapt from this intensive process to streamline their own spring cleaning? Let me know if find any of these strategies helpful for your spring cleaning or Holiday prep? I would love to hear from you in the comments!


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3 Comments


orgassist
Apr 29

Your spreadsheet sounds amazing! Have you ever thought of offering it as as a lead magnet or low-cost digital product?

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Jonda Beattie
Jonda Beattie
Apr 22

Love this full explanation of what cleaning and preparation is necessary for Passover. I don't do spring cleaning either as I use a Zone Plan and spread out the cleaning over a year. But I do follow a lot of your tips on preparing for parties or special events. And I do put certain annual cleaning events on my calendar - like cleaning out gutters or birdhouses. I love the idea of "putting a gate around it". Thanks for a great read.

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Jill Katz
Jill Katz
Apr 26
Replying to

I love the idea of the Zone Plan for spring cleaning since most cleaning can happen at any time.

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