Yeah, I know, it’s still cold out there, but with less than four weeks left till Pesach there is no choice: the cleaning must be done, like it or not!
The most important job, before you start, is gathering your team members (everyone cleaning for Pesach should have a team) who, after grunting and claiming other obligations, will eventually (and graciously) come together to get the job done. Toward this end, it is your job as the team captain to get everyone into the cleaning mood and to come up with ways to make the cleaning job more appealing.
Make it a group effort. Cleaning the right way should be a team sport. Enlist your kids, your friends, or any particularly nice strangers you happen to come across. Splitting up the tasks and having someone to talk to (or whine to!) will make it easier and make it go faster.
Make it fun. Cleaning and fun don’t have to be adversaries. I mean, it’s never going to be a picnic, but it doesn’t have to be a misery either. If you’re tackling a big job, enjoy the process by reminiscing while you clean. Found photo albums? Take a break to look through them and share stories. Taking small moments to appreciate friends and family and remember good times will make taxing tasks a little less so, but be careful to allot only small breaks or you will end up losing the whole day to nostalgia.
Make it a race. You can do this room by room or break it up into smaller chunks. The first one to have their bathroom sparkling-clean or their closet cleaned out gets a prize. This category especially includes husbands—I find that husbands are the hardest members of the team to get into cleaning out their closets…
Make it competitive. Nothing motivates people to get moving like a little healthy competition. So devise a competition with prizes involved. (Extra allowance money for your kids; favorite dish or dessert for your husband; a night out for the whole family; mani-pedi for the girls or batting range for the boys, depending on who is the winner. And then watch them make an effort like never before. Need a little motivation yourself? Make yourself a deal that you’ll buy yourself a present for a job well done—you know what prize to dangle for this purpose!
Make it a workout. Put on your comfy clothes and your sneakers. As you’re cleaning, incorporate some exercise. Instead of sitting on the floor and cleaning out that box, stand, bend, and stretch. Take items to the trash one at a time so you take more steps. Set an alarm so that every 15 minutes you take two minutes to run in place, do jumping jacks, or work your abs. Alternatively, make it a dance party. Same sneakers! Same workout clothes! Dance as you work—music turned up (shades closed)!
Make it easy. If you set your expectations too high, you’ll probably end up disappointed and sitting in a mess you created because you insisted on cleaning out every drawer and cabinet at the same time. If you’re not the type who can move through tasks from beginning to end without distraction, take the easy way out: Turn on the TV and watch your favorite show. Get up on commercials and clean for the few minutes until your program returns. It may take you all day, but at least you’ll get caught up on your DVR. Then, when you see how much time you wasted, panic and call a cleaning service!
Make it profitable. How much stuff do you have that is stacked in boxes, stuffed into closets, or sitting unused in the garage? Now is a good time to clean it out and make some money on stuff you’re not using anyway (and who are we kidding—you probably don’t even remember half of what you have in the recesses of that hall closet anyway!). Schedule a yard sale, snap some pics, and post on eBay or Craigslist; whatever doesn’t sell can be donated for a tax deduction.
If all of this fails, make a reservation to go away for Pesach. There are a lot of great places where you can forget about the mess you left at home for those eight days! n
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and licensed N.Y.S. mortgage originator with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa@AVCrealty.com. Read more of Anessa Cohen’s articles at 5TJT.com.