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Sell your house, and other tips for surviving Pesach cleaning season

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With Passover just weeks away, it’s time to get cleaning. Here are some helpful tips to get through all the sweeping and scrubbing:

1. Start early: The unofficial opening of the Passover cleaning season – colloquially known as “Purim” – has come and gone. I hope you embraced the opportunity to foist that stack of granola bars you bought in bulk but your kids refuse to eat on unsuspecting friends and family under the guise of “mishloach manot.” But if you missed out on unloading on Purim itself, fear not. It’s never too late to deliver a thoughtful holiday package. Get the young ones back into their costumes and have them knock on any door with a mezuzah. Who’s gonna say no when a little Queen Esther and fireman come calling?

2. Extra meals: That mountain of pasta packages in the pantry isn’t going to eat itself. Fortunately, there are all sorts of ways to add more eating into your daily ritual. Start with a classic brunch, then follow up with a quick “blunch” (the less-than-classic meal between brunch and lunch). At dinner, institute a “no leftovers” rule. And don’t worry about overeating – you’re gonna need to go on a diet after the seders anyway.


3. Reconnaissance is key: When the sun goes down, head out for a leisurely stroll through your local back alleys and strip malls, taking note of easily accessible dumpsters and public trash cans. On garbage day, take the time to see who has room to spare in their bins. You might need it.

4. Get creative with storage space: Your kitchen cabinets can only conceal a fraction of the cereal boxes and oatmeal packages you’ve accumulated since last Passover. Where are you going to stash the rest of your chametz? The truth is there are all sorts of spaces you can make use of. Now that spring’s in the air, you might want to wedge a few cans of tuna into your winter boots. And that suit you haven’t worn since your daughter’s bat mitzvah? The pockets are a great place to store tea and coffee. Just make sure to remember where you’ve hidden everything, otherwise things could get messy the next time it snows.

5. Sell your house: Many people “sell” whatever chametz is left in their homes to a friendly non-Jew until Passover is over. That’s all well and good, but with the housing market as hot as a plate of maror, maybe now’s the time to cash in and make Passover cleaning a thing of the past. Use the financial windfall to book yourself one of those swanky Passover retreats.

6. The golden age of print: You’ve filled all the available storage space in your house, and there’s still more chametz to put away. What now? I like to use newspapers – like your trusty CJN  – and good old-fashioned masking tape to create temporary chametz-cloaking structures around the house. At least you’ll have something to read until Passover ends and you can finally bust into that giant bag of trail mix.

7. Stay hydrated: Your liquor cabinet is full of chametzdik booze. Enough said.

Happy cleaning!