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Streamline Your Pesach Cleaning

Yael Wiesner

The same process improvement tools used by billion-dollar corporations can transform your Pesach prep so it’s manageable and efficient — and you can attend the Seder like a queen

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

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"Processes are like junk drawers. If you don’t clean them up every so often, they just fill up with stuff, getting bigger and messier. To become efficient and productive in all areas of home management, we need to redefine everything we do as a process"

M

eet the Cohens

"Don’t go in there with pretzels! I just cleaned that room!” shrieks Mrs. Cohen.

“But I need my hoverboard,” explains Chaim, exasperated. “My class is getting together at the park this afternoon!” Chaim can’t understand. Doesn’t Mommy want him out of her way?

“Chani, did you finish the dishes?”

“I’ll get it to them as soon as I’m off the phone,” says Chani. “Dini is describing her new Yom Tov outfit. By the way, when are you going to take me shopping?”

Moishy pops in. “I’m hungry. What’s for lunch?”

“I’ll put up some noodles as soon as I finish this drawer.”

Mr. Cohen kicks open the door, holding an oversized can of fresh white paint. “Everyone out of the way. I’m starting!”

Pesach at the Cohens is underway!


It’s All a Process

So many tasks need to be managed in the month preceding Pesach, from regular household chores — laundry, daily meals, Shabbos prep — to a thorough cleaning of each room, shopping for clothes, errands, entertaining the kids on vacation, cooking, maybe even some home improvements.

Instead of another futile attempt at getting family members to help or reorganizing a closet, let’s refocus on the root of all homemaking issues. It’s time to confront the Pesach preparation process at the core.

"Instead of another futile attempt at getting family members to help or reorganizing a closet, let’s refocus on the root of all homemaking issues. It’s time to confront the Pesach preparation process at the core"


At the base of everything we do in our homes are the processes we subconsciously follow. This Erev Pesach, before organizing the rooms, first organize the processes taking place.

“If you can’t describe what you do as a process, you don’t know what you are doing,” says W. Edwards Deming, forerunner of the Lean Six Sigma philosophy. Processes are like junk drawers. If you don’t clean them up every so often, they just fill up with stuff, getting bigger and messier. To become efficient and productive in all areas of home management, we need to redefine everything we do as a process.

And once you have a process, you can employ process- improvement techniques to fix the things that keep going wrong. One effective tool is the Lean Six Sigma methodology, used by billion-dollar corporations worldwide. It’s actually a combination of two effective continuous process improvement methods: Lean and Six Sigma.

Lean focuses on eliminating waste so that we can use our resources better, as well as engaging the people involved in the process so there’s constant improvement.

Six Sigma is a statistical means of collecting and analyzing data. It focuses on eliminating defects from a process.

How can Lean Six Sigma help the Cohen family? Eliminating waste from a production process is one of the underlying concepts of Lean Six Sigma. Until now the Cohens have thought of “waste” only as Moishy’s half eaten sandwich, Chani’s stained sweater, or Chaim’s broken bicycle. Lean Six Sigma waste is broader. It’s defined as unnecessary time, material, and labor in a process. The more waste we eliminate from a process, the more time and resources we have for achieving our goal.

The Cohen family has gotten so used to the disorganized “jump at the task that screams the loudest” method of preparing for Pesach that they are blinded to doing things differently. Let’s teach the Cohens how to view the Pesach-making process with new eyes and eliminate their waste.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 583)

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