By Duby Litvin for COLlive.com
Pesach. We either love it, or love to hate it. For some, Pesach conjures an image of anxiety, terror, and cold sweats. For many, the mere mention of Pesach is the time of year that so many people simply dread, and rightfully so! There is so much to do!
The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. While there is a lot to do, things can be easier. There are many tips and tricks to alleviate the enormous amounts of stress when it comes to Pesach planning.
If there was one key tip I could share with you to help alleviate stress of Pesach planning, it would be this: Create a list.
From start to finish, write it all down. Get a binder, or a folder (whatever you feel more comfortable using) and don’t let anything rumble around your brain keeping you awake at 3 AM. Lists will help clear your mind because you won’t have to remember anything since it is all written down. From your cleaning lists, to your shopping lists, menus, guest lists, write it all down.
Here’s how to use your cleaning lists:
1. Make a list or chart of the cleaning areas of your house. Delegate to your family members (and give deadlines). Divide what items are considered Pesach cleaning, and what’s considered Spring cleaning. I also like to use a “countdown” calendar, where I mark down when all the cleaning will happen, the koshering, the shopping etc.
2. Based on your cleaning list – break it down and create a list for your cleaning lady. The cleaning lady can take care of a lot of “spring cleaning” items for you.
How to use your shopping lists:
1. Your shopping list is more than just chicken scratched on the back of your last Con Edison bill. It’s the entire crux of your Pesach planning.
2. Divide your shopping list by store, so you know where you need to go.
3. Delegate and send different family members to various stores. Make your menu first, then create your shopping list. A lot of money will be saved if you shop based on your menu rather than just impulse buying.
4. Do not throw away your shopping list – ever! Keep it in your binder / folder for reference. Mark down amounts of everything you bought, and then go back and indicate if it was enough / too much so you know how to shop for the following year. Cross reference with your guest list so you know how many people you hosted, which will give you an idea of the amounts needed.
How to Use Your Food Lists:
1. After a few years of creating Pesach menus, you will be able to use them as a starting point when planning your current year’s menu. I personally like having a “food list” – a list of ideas that I’m able to pick and choose from when creating me menus. This way I don’t feel overwhelmed of each year starting from scratch pouring over cookbooks. You can add a new dish or two, and browse through cookbooks, but this gives you a starting point and some peace of mind.
2. Before creating your menus, create your guest list. This will tell you what kind of meal you need to make , how much food, how many dishes (which will then help you create your shopping list)
And if you have time and patience, create one last list: The Fun List of interesting stories or things that happened over Yom Tov. Put this with your Pesach boxes and imagine how wonderful it will be when you pull it out next year and get to enjoy reading about all the wonderful and funny things from years past.
Wishing you all a kosher and stress free Pesach!
–Duby Litvin lives in Louisville, KY and is the creator of “Duby’s Pesach Lists”, a guide filled with any and every list imaginable to help you get organized for Pesach at DubysPesachLists.com