Suddenly, a few weeks before Passover, we might become more conscious of crumbs than usual. Those bagels, muffins, and crackers that were re-introduced into our lives after the Atkin’s Diet craze finally died down suddenly became suspicious objects once again, but not due to their carb content.
Chometz is the Hebrew word for “leavening” and it refers also to any food or product which might contain leavening agents (or things that can make dough rise, like yeast). Before Passover, the whole family starts clearing the entire house, and even the inside of cars and purses, of crumbs. Depending on the size of your home or apartment, this process can last a few weeks or, if you are lucky and have lots of help, a few days. Cleaning for Passover may be associated with the international custom of Spring Cleaning, and it is a good way to kill two birds with one stone, but the two phenomena are not identical. Passover cleaning is focused on removing leavening, so any place you feel is free of such substances should receive some, but not extended, attention.
You can involve the whole family in your Passover Cleaning by making a chart and assigning specific tasks to members of the family. This will make everyone feel that they are playing a part in preparing for the holiday. To keep your clean areas free of leavening, you will need the cooperation of even the little ones, so why not make it into a game? The person who finds the most chometz gets (ironically) a cookie! The super Passover cleaner of the week gets a free trip to the Mall to purchase almost anything his or her heart desires (within reason). The more fun you make your Passover Cleaning for the whole family, the less stress you will feel, and the more enjoyable you holiday will be.