I used to start two days after Purim. Everyone needs a breather between holidays, right.
I used to clean every mirror in my house, and wash every baseboard.
I used to schlep (move) all the decorative things, platters, vases, pitchers out of my dining room and down to the basement.
I used to clean out the coat closet and clean the bottom of all our shoes.
I used to wash every linen in our house. Every sheet, blanket, towel.
I used to soak a gazillion toys in the bathtub or washing machine.
I used to do it all myself – fridge, oven, counters. I would ask for help with 2 things – kashering a soup pot and my urn – because boiling water and hot rocks and I don’t get along.
I used to plan elaborate meals and look through cookbooks and spend two full days cooking and grate horseradish myself. (That was actually the fun part, not the horseradish, but the cooking and creativity; I do look forward to the day when I’ll do that again.)
Now. Blissful now. Now. I am a single mother. I am less rich. I have less time. Less energy. Less motivation. More freedom.
Now I started two weeks ago by fishing for invites for all the meals. Thanks, Friends!! I bought sparkling grape juice and candied nuts and candied candy to bring as hostess gifts. I brought up all my Pesach bins from the basement. My mom happened to be in town and bought my kids new suits. I ran into Marshall’s on another errand and bought a dress. I organized my piles of paperwork in my bedroom, so that I could actually see what’s going on on my dresser.
Last week, I called my friend to borrow her cleaning lady for the hard stuff. This week, I threw a sheet over my open shelves in the dining room, started hiding all the stuff from my kitchen counter-tops in cabinets, cleaned out my trunk and the stroller while my boys were playing outside, and made the list for the cleaning lady.
Here’s it is:
Fridge/Freezer – take everything out, put in bags, deep clean
Stovetop, NOT OVEN – the oven, I’m skipping in lieu of a toaster oven I bought last year
Under beds, under couches, in couches and chairs – vacuum
Mop – (this is not a Pesach job, this is because I never do it well and it will be nice to see my hardwoods gleaming for once)
Dining table and chairs – deep clean
Bathrooms – deep clean
Yep. I think that’s it. Thank G-d for small apartments. Guess what I’m paying her to do all the hard stuff? Sixty bucks! So worth it, and thank G-d, I have it!
I’m locking and taping the playroom shut. I’ll check a few toys to make sure no gunk. Sunday I’ll go grocery shopping while the kids are with their dad. I’ll kasher my granite counters and the sink. Wish me and boiling water some luck. Not dealing with the hot rock or the pot or the urn. I bought Pesach pots a couple years ago and might just drink iced coffee all chag (holiday).
We all hear the advice that Pesach cleaning is not spring cleaning, but when you start Pesach cleaning you can’t help seeing all the stuff that’s been neglected – like the baseboards and windows and closets of clutter. (I touch-up painted all my walls last week! What?! Why?! Because I finally saw the dirt and couldn’t deal with it any more.) Spring energy invigorates us to clean it up! Even though it has nothing to do with chametz (leaven), it feels good to give away all our unused junk (another woman’s treasure!), to see ourselves clearly in the mirror again.
This year, through all this writing, I’m focusing on cleaning out my heart and head and doing the bare minimum.
To all the women cooking for armies – you are my hero, you are what makes Pesach happen, you deserve a real nice treat! Thank you!! You don’t get thanked enough.
Everyone, take a deep breath of Nissan! The waters are about to part!