The Art of Passover List-Making

Shoshie Steinhart March 12, 2018

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It’s that time of year again; Pesach is only a couple weeks away. It’s definitely a daunting holiday, with lots of preparation that needs to be done. I’m a planner. I keep lists and even plan when I am going to plan! It helps me keep calm knowing that I have an agenda and can check things off as they get done. If you’re like me, but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to right place. I’m going to share my Pesach lists with you! I keep these from one year to the next. It’s how I basically start planning for next Pesach even before the seder plate gets packed away.


I have a few running lists — menus, inventory, and shopping. I keep them all in my Pesach cookbooks on a separate area of my bookshelves. Why in the cookbooks you ask? Well, aside from the fact that I am computer illiterate and cannot use Excel to save my life, if I packed my lists away with my Pesach stuff, I would forget about them. So, by keeping them accessible throughout the year, I can pull them out right around Purim time to review what I need for the upcoming year. Additionally, when I see the items I need on sale during the year, I know to buy them and cross them off the list.


List #1 Inventory

I write this list immediately after havdala on motzaei Pesach. On top of the paper I write the next year (during 2017, I wrote 2018) on one side of the paper I write “have” and on the other I write “need”. If I have closed unused items that will not expire before next Pesach, I write them down on the “have” side. And on the “need” side, I write which items I will need for the next year. On this list, I also make notes. For instance, how many people and meals were served and how much of various ingredients were used – why buy nine heads of romaine lettuce when you only need two?


List #2 Shopping

By keeping a year-to-year grocery shopping list, it takes the guesswork out of it. I go even further and break it down by store. I buy the paper goods and household items (aluminum tins, containers, foil, candles, and plastic tablecloths) well before Purim and stash them in the garage. I prefer to buy my meat and produce from one store and my pantry items from another, so my lists reflect that.  


List #3 Menus

I have been making Pesach now for seven years and have learned what works (for us) and what doesn’t. Of course we tweak meals from year to year, but we usually come back to the same family favorites. I keep my menus from year to year, again, just to make things easier. On the menus, I keep notes of which recipes worked and which didn’t. I’ve been making the same brownies and almond cookies for years—it just depends on how many batches I need to make (depending on how many people are home). As much as I love to try and taste new things, on Pesach, I try not to patchke and keep things simple.  


I hope this post gives you some helpful list-keeping tips. Leave a comment to let me know how you organize your Pesach.