The Talmud relates a story of a man travelling on a boat with chameitz. Realizing that he would be stuck on a boat over Pesach with a large quantity of chameitz, he decided to sell it to a non-Jew who was travelling with him. After Pesach, he bought the chameitz back. Over time, it was common practice for businesses that dealt with large quantities of chameitz would sell their chameitz to a local non-Jew to save them from incurring a large financial loss. Nowadays, in an age of stockpiling, it would be a substantial loss for any of us to just get rid of all chameitz products before Pesach (especially after Purim!), we therefore sell our chameitz to a non-Jew for the duration of Pesach.
The sale itself is rather complex due to the fact that there is no transfer of the physical items being sold. It is therefore customary to appoint a competent rabbi as one’s agent to sell their chameitz.
All chameitz food that is being sold must be placed in an enclosed area. If one could place it in a separate room that is most ideal. If not, cover in a way that makes it difficult to access. If food is in a cupboard one should tape the cupboard down.
We do not sell our pots and pans that have been used for chameitz The reason for this is that if we were to sell a non-Jew our dishes and buy them back after Pesach, we would have to tovel all of those items that we just bought from a non-Jew.
If one will be in a time zone that is different than the time zone that the sale will take place in, one should discuss this with their rabbi. There are some complications with such a sale. For example, if one is in California, where they are three hours later than us in Baltimore, and the rabbi buys back the chameitz immediately after Pesach, the individual who is in California will be in possession of chameitz for the last few hours of Pesach.
If you have not sold your chameitz yet, please fill out this form and send it back to me or the shul office – http://nertamid.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Ner-Tamid-pesach-chometz-sale-2014.pdf