How to organize for Passover in 2 hours or less

Passover is just around the corner – it starts Monday night April 18th and runs until Monday April 25th. Passover is one of the most religious of Jewish holidays and often involves days even weeks of cleaning (in particular the kitchen) to prepare for the holiday and for the Sedar (the Passover dinner).

Now for the BIG DISCLAIMER: Everyone celebrates Passover differently and everyone has different rules they feel comfortable with in terms of how to get ready for the celebration. I am a reform Jew and the preparation and observance in our house is minimal BUT for this article I tried to take what I thought were the most important elements in Passover prep and give them the Buttoned Up spin. It is only my point of view and I would love to hear from you about other ideas, tips and tricks to make the prep for this holiday as easy as possible.

The Passover Basics

Significance: Remembers the Exodus from Egypt

Observances: Avoiding all leavened grain products and related foods (e.g. bread, wheat)

Length: One Week


The traditional preparation for Passover goes something like this:
1. Get rid of any items in the house that are not Kosher for Passover.

2. Clean, clean and clean some more everything in the kitchen

3. “Sell” items that are not for Passover to a non-Jewish friend of neighbor. After the holiday, you can “buy it back.”

4. Search to make sure you have gotten rid of everything not for Passover in the house

5. Change over all of your dishes, pots, pans, silverware, etc… to your Passover ones

This can often take a considerable amount of time. Think of it as kitchen spring cleaning on steroids. Now, I am not saying that you should not do this but if you are looking for some suggested shortcuts, keep reading below.

Passover – The “Buttoned Up Way”

As most of you know Buttoned Up has 3 core philosophies that can help you focus and successfully organize almost anything. Passover is no different. Here are my suggestions for doing just that:

1. Stop Chasing Perfection – Give yourself permission not to follow every Passover rule or do everything your mother or grandmother did. Perfection is overrated

2. Focus on the 20% of the Passover Tasks that are Critical – Enough said. Figure out what rules, tasks are important to you and your family and do those and allow yourself permission to forget the rest of them.

3. Delegate Effectively – Passover preparation is hard work. Give everyone a task to do. Little ones can help clean our the refrigerator and pantry. Someone else can help with the dishes change over. Everyone should have a job to help out.

The 2 Hour Plan

So if you only have 2 hours to get your kitchen ready for Passover, I am suggesting the plan below. It is by no means perfect and doesn’t include everything but it is a suggested way to get ready in a simple easy way.

30 Minutes – Do a thorough clean of the entire kitchen. Don’t forget the counters, microwave, oven, dishwasher and stove.

30 Minutes – Clean out the refrigerator and pantry of all Non-Passover items. You can choose to sell the items and buy them back later or donate to a food pantry. It is really up to you. If you do not get rid of the items, tape up the cabinet you are storing the items in until Passover is over to avoid temptation.

45 Minutes – Change over the plates, dishes, pots, pans and silverware for Passover. Store away the regular items (e.g. put in a spare room/bedroom and make it easy for you) and make sure all of the Passover items are clean and ready to use.

Last 15 Minutes – Do one final check and cleaning. Make sure everything is done and clean and ready to go.

So that is the plan. Again, it is not perfect and not for everyone but hopefully it does help some of you like me who want to celebrate the holiday but don’t have the time or energy to do everything 100%.

Would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions as well.