I've been around for a while, but I don't believe I've ever introduced myself. I'm Diana and I live in the UK. I'll be 20 next week, I'm married, and I have a 10.5 month old son.
My biggest 'housekeeping' problem I think would have to be keeping the floors clear. My son doesn't make that easier as he is toddling about, and now I have tiny bits of Weetabix and other such things *everywhere*. I dread next year'd Peseach cleaning. I find my living room floors, which carpet, is impossible to keep clean and there are small stains here and there from my son and husband (he is partially physically disabled) and some from myself. What are your floor cleaning and carpet stain removal tips?
Hello to all!
My best friend in this whole thing has been my timer. The control notebook (whether on paper, on the computer or on your handheld) is a good idea but it has to be remembered. The proverbial shiny sink - oh, yeah. My version is an empty dishdrainer, but, yes, it's a simple success.
I haven't been doing them.
But the timer - my goodness. Because you'd be amazed at what you can do in fifteen minutes of work. In two fifteen minute bursts, I started getting a handle on my kitchen last night. In one last night, with my husband's help, I managed to fill two large trash bags and two recyling bags.
And today - today my kitchen, which had been a total disaster (grocery bags everywhere, counter cluttered with everything you can imagine, floor so messy I couldn't even *sweep*, let along wash it, stove crusted and greasy...well, you get the idea.) has all four corners visible. Has been swept. The counters have been cleared and washed. The stove is still bad, but I can get to that tomorrow since I've done my Shabbos shopping.
I can finish up on Sunday, easily. And I can do the rest of the house with my husband's help - and that of the timer. We'll be eating take out chometz or pesadich with paper and plastic from Monday on, and I'll be using my evenings to finish up. By Thursday, I'll have refilled the fridge and started the cooking marathon, which is the fun part.
But I'll be doing everything but the cooking in fifteen minute intervals with ten minute rest periods.
It's two weeks away. As I am the queen of procrastination, I have just started my cleaning. I always get it done in time. I shall get it done in time this year, too.
Again, we all have to remember that Pesach cleaning is not Spring cleaning. If there's a place chometz doesn't go, it doesn't have to be Pesach cleaned.
My own first step? Declutter the kitchen. I'm a terrible housekeeper and my kitchen is piled high with shopping bags and other stuff. Or it was. I got rid of a good amount today using the Flylady method - set fifteen minutes on a timer, clean for that long and *stop*.
I'm also firming up my guest lists and menus for the s'dorim. I'm not at the point of writing them down yet, but that will come. The best way not to spend too much money (yes, I know it's not counted against us for the year, but that doesn't mean we should be wasteful) is to plan all your meals for the week and then write out a shopping list and try to stick to it.
Shopping can be fun this time of year, especially in Flatbush (and I suspect other heavily Orthodox areas, too.) I wanted to make tofu for dinner tonight (don't make faces. I like tofu.) but there wasn't any in my local kosher supermarket. Fortunately, there were cans of chickpeas, so I can make a curry instead. And I have rice in the house.
One of my problems is that my husband is a firm believer in "ein sueda lo bosor v'lo yayin" - it's not a sueda, a feast, unless there is meat and wine. Wine isn't a probelm for a seder, of course, but meat can be. To whit - my brother-in-law, who is coming to us the first night, is a vegetarian, mostly. This means he does eat fish.
So. I'm making chickenless soup - all the normal herbs and veggies that go into a standard chicken soup, or maybe more, but no chicken. My mother-in-law made it last year, and it's delicious and goes well with matzo balls. This will be for both nights - I'm kashering my big soup pot. My matzo balls aren't so wonderful, but we will see. And I'm making an eggplant-zucchini-tomato baked dish that will be a side dish for most of us and a main course for him. And gefilte fish, so he'll definitely have protein. The rest of us will have chicken that I will roast during Maggid, which means all the yumminess of freshly roasted chicken. Yay. I'll also make a farfel kugel. If only we ate kitniyot...I could make brother-in-law tofu.
The second night will be pot roast or beef stew that I'll reheat during Maggid, again, and serve with its own veggies.
We do eat largish seders because we don't hold by large shiurim.
Meanwhile, we also have to deal with the halachic problems this year poses - our houses are pesadich, but we're required to make motzi for Shabbat and we can't make it on matzo so we have to have bread, but no one wants bread in their houses.
OK, not really disaster, but a tough nut...
Last November, I lost my system to a virus. Had to nuke it from orbit and reinstall. I tried to back up all my personal files before I wiped the hard disk, but wouldn't ya know I neglected to back up my Pesach lists. I searched my server thoroughly, combed through my CD-ROM backup. Nothin'.
Now I have to recreate 15 years worth of cleaning, shopping, and kashering lists. Ugh.
The obvious things like "clean the refrigerator" and "buy Matzoh" are easy, but there are always stupid little things that I forget from year to year and need to be reminded of.
I'm asking this community to share their gotchas on cleaning and kashering, because while shopping is way personal, I'm pretty sure all the secret cleaning gotchas that were on my list are also on at least one of your lists, too.
Thanks for any help. I promise to back it up this time. No, really!