Before any festival- especially Pesach, I do as little cleaning as I can get away with, because even though I am organized, I hate to clean and because I actually prefer to focus on the cooking, which is the same from year to year, (I try to make my life simple, and no one remembers!) so I can save my shopping lists, and menus and just adapt based on number of people.
Here are my tips and tricks:
As I have said before–Spreadsheets are our friends. I keep a google document that I call Holidays.
There is a tab for each holiday and the year.
The spreadsheet does several things: it tracks my guests, my menus, my recipes, my shopping lists, my to do list and for pesach, what I own.
I have one column for guests, divided by meals and then what I make for each meal. At the bottom of each page I also keep the recipes I used.
I keep track of what I purchased, so that I don’t over purchase. This also helps me track expenses from year to year and budget accordingly. For example, for Pesach, I usually spend my food budget early, so if Pesach falls out the first week of April, I have usually bought everything in the last week of March, and spent the bulk of my food budget for the first two weeks of April the last week of March. I don’t necessarily go over budget but I know that I need to have more cash flow in advance.
BONUS: Tracking how much I spend on individual items gives me a good grasp on what is a good price and when to stock up.
The column for my To Do list is ever changing, it ranges from additional food items I need to remind myself to light my candles in advance of the holiday, to remaining cleaning tasks.
If you want a copy of my spreadsheet, click here