Whether you sell your chametz or get rid of it all; whether you have a Pesach kitchen or spend the night before Pesach completely overhauling your every-day kitchen (or both); the following checklist can help alleviate a lot of the panic that thoughts of Pesach bring on – no matter how early the stores decide they need to stock their shelves. (Note: February is too early to be seeing Matzah on the grocery store shelves!)
Sort the Loot!
- Clear your counters of Mishloach Manot treats and boxes.
Our family divides the treats into 3 categories – school-permitted snacks, candy that has chametz, and candy that does not. Between Purim and Pesach, my kids know to choose from the first 2 categories since those are items that we don’t sell over Pesach. Whatever system works best for your family, it’s a good idea for the kids to know when they can indulge etc. so they are not eating Laffy Taffy for breakfast for the next four weeks.
Get to Know Your Pantry.
- Know what you need to buy.
With Pesach products quickly filling the grocery store shelves, it’s really important to know what you have and what you still need to buy for the next four weeks. Grocery stores are notorious for not stocking some of our favourite chametz products long before Pesach is even on our radars, and if your kids are picky eaters (and whose kids aren’t?), you may want to stock up on those hard to find items this week.
- Plan your meals.
Itemizing your pantry also helps you with meal planning over the next few weeks – especially if your goal is to get rid of your chametz but you are loathe to actually throw anything out. If you still have ten boxes of macaroni hiding in your pantry, you may want to start checking out new ways to make Mac & Cheese.
- Make room for Pesach products
One last benefit of clearing your pantry early: You can make room for the Pesach products you need to start buying before the stores run out. One year I went to four stores during Pesach before I could find a bottle of kosher-for-Pesach ketchup…
As much as we are loathe to admit it, time flies. The earlier we start, the more likely it is that we can complete all the preparations required without the usual last-minute panic.
- List how many meals you are making over the holiday – don’t forget that difficult time on Erev Pesach (Passover eve) when we can’t eat bread or matzah products.
- Sort your Pesach supplies.
- Pull out your recipes and start planning meals.
- Plan your kids’ (and your) Pesach wardrobe by figuring out what still fits, what needs repairing, and what needs to be purchased before the holiday.
- Start a shopping list of needed supplies, ingredients, and clothing.
Include your kids.
Kids don’t have the same innate sense of dread that adults do when they think of Pesach. By including the kids in your prep, their excitement for the holiday may rub off on you and you can actually look forward to the holiday instead of hiding out in your room until it’s all over. Sounds good in theory, no?
This is the first of a 4-part series. Stay tuned for WEEK 2 of the Post-Purim Pre-Pesach No Panic Plan.