Passover starts on Friday night, and whether you’re more likely to scrub the fridge and ditch the chumetz or spend the week chomping on bagels and toast, the holiday is a great opportunity to clean some of the clutter out of your house. If you’ve got time on your hands, you may want to consider a major purge, but if you’re like me, that’s unlikely to happen unless someone drops a nanny and a chef on your doorstep for a week. Assuming your life is already busy enough, here are a few quick and easy ways you can manage some of the smaller messes in your home.

  • Unsubscribe from junk emails. Since becoming a mother, I have ended up on a ton of baby-related websites which send me emails every day peddling discount onesies and the latest theory on how to get a toddler to eat vegetables. If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, you may want to reduce some of the electronic clutter in your life by unsubscribing from those websites you don’t use.
  • Create a system for getting the actual clutter out of your house. We’ve got an old diaper box in the corner of our kitchen, and every time I come across something we just don’t need, it goes in the box. Once the box gets full, the contents either go up on Freecycle or they get donated.
  • created at: 2012-04-03Ditch the clothes that don’t fit. These clothes might be yours, or more likely, your kids (especially if they hit those growth spurts as often as mine do). Keep another cardboard box in each bedroom and every time you find some clothes that are too small, toss ‘em. If you’re thinking about having another baby, label the box with the size, and stick it in the basement. If not, find another family who might benefit from those footy pajamas and tiny socks.
  • Sort the sippys. Since our second daughter ditched her bottle for a sippy cup, and our older girl hasn’t yet moved on from hers, our house has become overrun by those little plastic cups and tops. They’re in the kitchen and dining room, every pocket of the diaper bag, and all over the car. Once I take care of the rest of the kitchen, I’m going to go through our sippy cups, save the best ones, and recycle the rest.
  • Clean out the medicine cabinet. Now might be a good time to sort through all of those tiny bottles of baby Motrin, tubs of Vaseline, and half-used tubes of toothpaste and figure out what’s worth saving and what’s expired or otherwise worth ditching. Just be sure to dispose of any medications safely so your little ones can’t get their hands on them. (Also, this is a good opportunity to go through your house and make sure all of your medications are safely stored.)
  • Tackle the car. Currently, I have two small plastic squirrels, a teddy bear, 2 sparkly headbands, 3 blankets, several finger paintings, 3 diapers that are the wrong size, 87 cheerios, and a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar in my car. Before the holiday starts, I’m going to head out to the car with two plastic bags—one for garbage, and one for stuff that needs to go back into the house.
  • Focus your art collection. (That’s a nice way to suggest that you should toss most of your kids’ drawings.) Ditch the random scribbles and hand turkeys, and focus on the pieces that are really interesting and demonstrate some aspect of your child’s personality or development. Make sure to date each piece, and if your child had something interesting to say about it, be sure to write that down, too.

That’s where I’m starting. What about you? Share your tips for cleaning the clutter in time for Passover!