20 Tips to Simplify Shabbat Prep

New to Sabbath keeping? Here's 20 tips to help simplify preparing for Shabbat | Land of Honey

When I first started keeping Shabbat Fridays were a bit overwhelming. The afternoons were a flurry of getting things cleaned, and cooking up a huge amount of food, and, oh no, I need to run to the store. That was really frustrating to me, especially since I was used to Fridays being the happy weekend kick off of relaxation and free time. It felt a little backwards when it became my busiest day of the week. And that's because it takes practice to learn to rest well. If you're not used to preparing ahead of time for a day of no work, that honestly is a bit tricky until you're good at it. But things will get better! 

If you're in the stage where preparing for Shabbat is frustrating and overwhelming -- keep practicing! You will get there. With each week that goes by, preparing for the Sabbath gets easier. It's natural now to look ahead and anticipate what our needs will be on Shabbat, and planning for those needs is no longer the chore that it was. Here are a few tips that I've learned to have a less hectic day on Friday and more peace on Shabbat.

20 Tips for Simpler Shabbat Preparation

1. Prepare your heart first. Why have you decided to honor the Sabbath day? Did you feel the Holy Spirit leading you? Did you and your spouse decide to be obedient to YHWH's instructions? Have you decided to let go of traditions to try things the Savior's way? It's important to remind yourself of that when the week is hectic and you start to feel overwhelmed. 

2. Plan ahead. Almost everyone who participated in our Shabbat Survey mentioned how much easier things are to get done when you get a jump-start Thursday or Wednesday or even before. Having a plan can alleviate the stress of 'it's-Friday-afternoon-and-I'm-not-ready.' Having even just one thing done going into Friday makes things feel much more under control. Maybe that's getting groceries on Monday, jotting down a to do list, or filling up on gas after work on Thursday.

3. Make note of anything that needs done before Shabbat. If you are a list writer, jot down what for sure needs done ahead of time. Not just meal prep for the Sabbath, also consider upcoming bills that need paid or library books to be returned. Are you low on diapers or medication? Will you need to get gas so you can make it to congregation? Having it written down means we are more likely to remember it.

4. Recognize that things don't need to be elaborate. YHWH does not require us to have spotless homes, four course dinners, or candles lit to welcome Shabbat, so feel free to simplify! If there is one specific thing that helps you to rest well, focus on that and let go of the others.

5. Have a go to Shabbat meal on hand. Despite our best plans and intentions there are going to be times that things get away from us. Having non-perishables or slow to perish items on hand to serve keeps us from violating Shabbat when that happens. Here are some ideas for stocking your pantry for Shabbat prep.

6. Learn to rest when everything isn't perfect.  We are not asked to have everything in order or all our to-do list items checked off before Shabbat. Make rest the goal, instead of a spotless home or traditional rituals. Simplifying our expectations allows us to enjoy the simple things instead of obsessing over how things could be in a perfect world.

7. Know some quick last minute snacks to prepare. It takes just a minute to blend up some yogurt and fruit and pour it into a popsicle mold for a great snack the next day. The same for kosher gelatin. Most of those recipes are just letting them chill. These recipes are great to turn to when Shabbat is closing in and the fridge is less than filled.

8. Divide tasks among family members. You don't have to do this by yourself. Assign appropriate tasks for each person in your household to have done by the end of the week. Everyone in the family can have different cleanup jobs, dad can pick up a loaf of bread for dinner, and a younger child can pick out which Bible story to read on Shabbat.

9. Figure out what works for you. I have seen several lists of how to get ready for Shabbat, and they are mostly things that would not fit in my life at all. Setting the dining room table for Shabbat dinner the Sunday before? Mine gets used for projects all week long, so that's out. Taking Friday afternoon off? Not usually an option. But if that helps you get ready, then go for it! There is not a right or wrong way to prepare for a day off; decide what works in your schedule and go from there.

10. Log off digitally before Shabbat. Signing out of social media lessens distractions on preparation day, making it easier to get the menial tasks out of the way and to spiritually prepare ourselves. Switching your email to 'off' after work on Friday can become a habit that says, "time to get ready for Shabbat."

11. Grill for Friday evening dinner. You've spent the day scrubbing the dishes and cleaning house. What's more frustrating than kicking off Shabbat with a sink load of dirty pots and pans? Grilling part of your meal can cut down on things to clean up afterwards.

12. Use glass, Pyrex type containers. Having my Shabbat foods stored in glass, oven-proof containers makes things easier in a couple of ways. These can double as serving dishes and go into the oven for foods I am reheating. After our meal I can put the lid back on and store it, without any extra cleanup. 

13. Have a special Sabbath basket for kids. Fill it with Shabbat appropriate books, games, and movies so that children can learn which activities are appropriate for the set apart day. This can also make the day more restful to you, as bored children can be sent to the basket to find something to do.

14. Surround yourself with reminders. Write in your planner, put a Scripture on the importance of honoring Shabbat on your bathroom mirror, or schedule reminders in your phone. This brings to mind that Shabbat is coming and we are to be ready for it.

15. Have a potluck meal. If you know like-minded believers or are involved in a congregation consider hosting a covered dish meal on Shabbat. It is much easier to prepare one or two things for a group meal than to do each thing yourself.

16. Empty the dishwasher. I like to have my dishwasher emptied going into the set apart day so that dirty dishes can be placed inside the next day. Another idea would be using paper products to cut down on cleanup.

17. Use a slow cooker and consider a second one. It's hard to get much more convenient than coming home from congregation to a hot meal at the ready, where you have nothing to do but dish it up. I've also heard a couple of people say they like having two so they can have a hot breakfast, and lunch, or lunch, and dinner ready to go.

18. Double recipes throughout the week. This is a great way to have food prepared ahead of time without the extra time commitment of setting aside Thursday evening or Friday afternoon. Make an extra large pot of soup on Tuesday or grill extra chicken Thursday to get a jump start on meals for the Sabbath.

19. Have books and study materials on hand. In addition to copies of Scripture, consider expanding your resource library to assist with your studies on Shabbat. A designated shelf of books can be a place to head on the rest day when you are looking for something to do or want to learn more. This is especially important if you don't attend a congregation. It eliminates the what am I going to do tomorrow question.

20. Remember you don't have to get everything done! When Shabbat comes what's done is done and that's enough. Things can wait. It really is okay to rest while the kitchen is messy and the laundry isn't done, in fact YHWH requires us to. Rest now and take care of the what remains later.


20 tips to make your Shabbat prep smoother and your life easier | Land of Honey

What have you found helpful to get ready for Shabbat?

10 comments:

  1. I like especially, the idea of a Shabbat basket for children. And the overall concept of not having to have everything done perfectly.

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    1. I'm all about not being perfect around here! I'd love to hear what items get put into baskets at your house!

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  2. Thanks for sharing. I am continually exploring ways others find restfull successes! To share some of my own (via clues of others), has been things like: 1. think of it like a vacation you are planning each week. At first this freaked me out and overwhelmed me, but as I pondered it, planning all week for shabbat prepared my heart and balanced out the preps involved. The commitment is an investment well worth the results! Reducing the last minute preps! 2. there are variations to how others approach their version of sabbath rest. For us it entails cooked meal for Friday night and no cooking day of (but often premade) for Breakfast and lunch for the most part... This has lead to some wonderful creativity, such as making coffee or tea's hot in a thermos the afternoon before (learn about different thermos' to know which will really keep drinks hot until the next morning!). And a variety of other options. I have been working on what I call my family "Shabbat" meals, etc. recipes and other idea's to help the idea's flowing! We do a variety of salads and pasta salads, etc. for several of our lunch options, my hubby has really loved this!!! And some things I can prepare in steps during the week. Your pantry idea, provides many windows.... and this concept via the Lords leading, began opening my heart more regarding all kinds of scriptures that point us toward "Being Prepared".... many layers of spiritual and practical weavings! I just returned from helping my daughter out for 4 1/2 months whom has now 5 kiddo's ages 2 months, 1 year, 2 year, 4 year and a 6 year old.... my mind now is trying to process how to help her enjoy a sabbath rest... Besides the challenges of time and ages, their family also has some dietary considerations unique to my current house hold. So I am looking for more info to process how others, especially with young children and dietary issue and more manage their preps. So my friends please keep sharing your idea's and successes please!

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    1. Thanks for your wisdom Gail! I agree that Shabbat preparation is an investment well spent! And cold brew coffee is perfect for the Sabbath. :)
      Shabbat with children is certainly a unique set of circumstances/obstacles but also opportunity for teaching them! I would love to hear of any ideas you have for your daughter's Sabbath rest. :)

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  3. As I sit here replying to this before sunrise on Saturday morning I find it a bit ironic but nevertheless, thank you for this. I am loving digging through your site and learning more of what is not taught in American churches today. Your emphasis on resting, even when it is not perfect is what I love most of all. I sincerely appreciate this, Taylor, thank you for practical way for my family to begin.

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    1. Lauren, your kind words mean so much to me! I am so excited that you are on this journey, eshet chayil. :) Shabbat rest is one of the best gifts you can give to your family and yourself. Can't wait to hear more! Thank you for the encouragement!

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  4. This is my favorite post I've read on Shabbat yet! So helpful

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    1. Yay! Let me know if you come up with anything to add to the list! :)

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  5. These are wonderful ideas. I am delighted that you are encouraging the keeping of Shabbat!

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    1. Thank you so much! I hope to show that keeping the commandments is actually doable! :)

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