Another year has passed and Pesach cleaning is once more around the corner. Spring is here (unless you live in the southern hemisphere, in which case it is of course autumn where you are), and I feel an irresistible urge to throw open all windows and doors, let in fresh clean air, and have everything neat, clean, tidy and in order.
After Purim (and in some cases even before it) the Jewish homemakers begin to gear up towards a frantic race of Pesach cleaning, and while there is undoubtedly many things that absolutely must be done to render a home chametz-free, I feel that many are overworking themselves by taking up jobs that aren’t strictly connected with the purpose of Pesach, and later collapse in exhaustion by the time the holiday begins.
For example, while it is undisputable that bathroom cabinets should be clean and orderly, there is little chance to have chametz there, and so the bathroom doesn’t have to be included in the obligatory pre-Pesach works. Same goes for dust on the closet-tops – dust is irritating and should be removed, but it is not chametz and therefore not at the top of the priority list. And if one is really pressed for time, cleaning the windows on the outside can also wait until after the work load has dropped a bit.
I understand the desire to get everything neat and clean once you start putting the house in order, and to get all over and done with in one stroke; however, for some of us there is a need to prioritize, do what is necessary now, and take care of the rest later. Most of the chametz is naturally in the kitchen and this year, like every year, most of my pre-Pesach work will be concentrated there. It will include scouring out the counters, the refrigerator, the oven, the gas stove, and behind and under all the appliances.
Next on the priority list will be washing and cleaning out the things where chametz might have reasonably reached, such as everything within reach of little hands with bread and cookie crumbs – the children’s toys, the sofa and bed covers, the chair seats and the curtains. There might be more but you get the gist. Needless to say, immediately before the holiday the house will get a good bit of general cleaning, all floors will be washed, the bedding changed and all clothes that might have come in contact with chametz taken off and laundered.
As for the rest – bathroom cabinets and weeds in the garden, bookcase tops, window frames and shutters – I’m not giving them up, and I will deal with them as time allows. I am merely saying that some of those might not be in perfect condition before the holiday, while I’m concentrating on getting rid of all the chametz.
I’m wishing a happy, successful and – as much as possible – stress-free cleaning to all.