Like Easter, Passover is always a spring holiday. One of the lovely things about it is that there is not only a tradition but also a religious requirement to clean beforehand. Since Passover commemorates an escape that took place so quickly there was not time for the bread to rise, the cleaning takes the form of getting rid of bread and bread products. It’s the time of year that stray Cheerio behind the couch gets vacuumed up — but there tends to be a lot of auxiliary dusting and polishing too. Of course, when the holiday is over, there’s always the reward of an extra-sparkly house with crisp curtains and shining baseboards.

Well, I am busy this year — I have a listing with an accepted offer so there is a contract to be babied along, and I have a rental coming online, and relocating clients coming into town in two weeks, plus I am a babysitting a listing for a senior agent who is out of town. So I knew I would not have days and days (which ideally I would like for my spring cleaning) to spare for getting our home ready. Instead, I made a date with my husband to do the most intensive cleaning, and I started to think about ways to spread the smaller tasks throughout the past couple of weeks.

One huge problem I had was my files. Despite the fact that I tell the IRS that I work in one specific corner of the apartment, I tend to treat everywhere — the couch, our little nook with the TV, even the top of my dresser — as my office. I think about six months ago, probably for my birthday, I had taken all the piles firmly in hand, but they did what piles do and started to spread all over the place again.

So this year I decided that my chametz — the leavened bread that I had to symbolically get rid of — was pieces of paper I was never going to go back to. Now of course for my clients there are things that state law says I have to save for years, but there are also notes and floor plans that I wouldn’t miss because when I want them I can’t find them anyway.

I shredded about eight trash cans full earlier today. It’s a fairly little trash can, so we are probably just taking one gigantic outdoor garbage bag full of paper. The house already feels lighter and roomier. And I am one of those people who is always anxious about throwing things away because "what if I need them later?" But for once I allowed that Nervous Nellie part of my brain to take a hike — since it’s the official season for spring cleaning I gave myself permission not to miss it.

There is still a ton to do before I win any kind of organization award. I have not felt well lately, and so I have not been good about updating my Web site for the past six weeks. The pile of papers on top of the dresser is still large, and I have e-mails that are weeks old that I have not answered. But that college dorm sense that you can’t put a cup of coffee down anywhere is starting to fade, at least from most of the house. There’s a corner of the apartment that’s still pretty heinous, but I feel that’s legitimate — that’s the place where I tell the IRS I work.

Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of "Diary of a Real Estate Rookie."


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