It’s finally here – the last week leading up to Pesach.
Take a deep breath. Don’t start panicking now – you’re almost there.
You’ve got this.
This week is all about the last-minute details that couldn’t be done until now. It’s about consolidating all the lists we’ve been busy creating into one master list, with each item being checked off systematically to allow us to approach the holiday with a sense of calm and control.
Here we go.
(For those who are just starting to clean, cook, etc, there’s no need to panic. Take a moment to review the earlier installments in the series, Week 1, Week 2, & Week 3, and then head back here when you’re done.)
- Cooking continued: Buy last minute shopping items for rest of cooking.
- Create Erev Yom Tov calling list to avoid forgetting someone in the family. Try getting some calls out of the way throughout the week.
- Clean out the cars.
- Drop off any last minute dry cleaning and and items needing alterations. Don’t forget kittels.
- Finish cleaning all areas in the home that haven’t been done – desk drawers, junk drawers, your secret nosh drawer (we all have one).
- Prepare games and divrei torah for the seder.
- Speak to your Rabbi about selling your chametz, if you haven’t already done so.
- Cooking continued: Cook roasts.
- Purchase hostess gifts if you are lucky enough to be invited out for some meals.
- Tape up/lock all areas that contain chametz or chametz-related items.
- Cooking continued: Sliced cooled roasts, if needed, label, and freeze.
Because this year, Shabbos HaGadol is so close to Pesach, many people choose to serve Pesach food and eat their challah very carefully. Because there is still Sunday, and we’re lucky enough to have a second kitchen, our Shabbos is very basic but still chametz-filled. Whatever you’re preference, you will need to leave some time to get your house Shabbos ready, while still thinking Pesach…
- Cooking continued: Desserts.
- Last grocery shop: Fresh milk, vegetables, fruit, eggs, magazines.
- Shine silver.
- Clean out backpacks, work bags, and purses. Check all those pockets – one year my friend found a sandwich buried deep in her son’s backpack during Pesach.
- Enjoy your Shabbos. There is still plenty to do tomorrow.
- Cooking continued: Prep salads; Remove pre-cooked food from freezer.
- Prepare items for the seder plate: Roast the zroah, grate the maror, boil the potatoes, wash the lettuce, roast the egg, make the charoses.
- Prepare mid-day meal for tomorrow – no chametz or matzah. Our family traditionally has mashed potatoes and burgers.
- Pick up any dry cleaning and/or alterations.
- Check all jacket and coat pockets. I don’t know what your kids do with their Shabbos candy, but mine are notorious for storing theirs in their coat pockets from week to week.
- Wash last laundry loads. (See here for customs regarding doing laundry during Chol Hamoed).
- Set dining room table.
- Set up your candles, including yahrtzeit/longer-lasting candle for lighting on second night.
- Bedikas Chametz.
- Last chametz meal. Pizza for breakfast, anyone?
- Final clean up – toaster crumbs, last vacuum, replace toothbrushes, put away last minute chametz items.
- Clean out garbage cans.
- Empty vacuum cleaners.
- Final chametz garbage drop-off. See your community listings for locations and times.
- Biur Chametz.
- Assemble seder plate.
- Finish all preparations by chatzos.
- Enjoy your mid-day non-chametz, non-matza meal.
- Leave time for naps. It sounds impossible but adding this to your list makes it more likely to happen.
BONUS: Post-Pesach Clean-Up
- Buy things you need for next year now when Pesach items are on sale.
- Create shopping list of items you can’t buy now as a reminder when you start preparations next year
- Pack everything away as you use them so after-Pesach, cleaning up is less overwhelming
- Make notes on recipes: what worked and what didn’t, what you need more of and what you need less of, etc.
Have a chag kasher v’sameach!
This is the fourth of a 4-part series. Catch up on Weeks 1, 2, & 3: