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Ah. Autumn is nearly here, bringing with it chillier temperatures but also a slew of pumpkin spice flavoured everything, great stuff on TV and of course all of that lovely and colorful foliage.
Speaking of the latter, while the Autumn leaves are certainly stunning to behold they are also a bit (or more than a bit) of a pain in the neck to deal with once they really begin to fall.
Not only do they make a mess but if left on the ground and in the gutters they can cause all kinds of problems, and they also tend to start looking messy rather than marvelous rather quickly, and that’s certainly not a look any homeowner wants, especially if their Waterloo Region home is currently on the market or sale.
This means that leaf raking is one of those must-do chores that cannot be avoided, however much you would like to. What it may surprise you to learn however is that there really is a right and wrong way to go about clearing up all of those leaves, both in order to make the process more efficient and to save you a lot of pain (mainly in the back) Here are a few pointers:
Work Without the Wind
If you are lucky enough to be able to pick your optimum raking day then it makes sense to choose one that is as lacking in wind as possible. Most of us don’t have that luxury though so chances are you’ll be working with the wind as a foe as well as that pile of leaves.
To minimize the nuisance make sure your rake in the direction that the wind is blowing, as raking into the wind will simply be an exercise in futility that is likely to drive you nuts.
While you should be clearing the gutters and drains around your home of leaf debris throughout the season to avoid water-related disaster when it comes to the leaves on the ground in general it pays to have patience and save your energies for one or two big rake ups towards the end of leaf fall rather than doing several little sessions that will soon be wasted as even more leaves fall.
Choose the Right Tools
We know, that now going rusty big metal rake has been with you for years and it still does a pretty good job. But maybe it’s time for an upgrade, both for the sake of efficiency and your own health.
Even if you don’t want to invest in a leaf blower (not all properties are even large enough or boast enough trees to warrant that kind of investment) there are several ‘modern’ alternatives that might be well worth looking into including a nifty selection of power rakes that will save you some time and muscle pain.
Watch How You Work
Speaking of muscle pain and backache, practicing proper raking technique before, during, and after you work will save you a lot of pain. Like snow shoveling, raking leaves is a real workout, and you need to warm up by stretching before you start just like you would if you were going to the gym.
While raking, make sure to keep maintain posture and stand upright as much as possible. Switch your main raking hand – the one on the bottom – on a regular basis, and always bend at the knees when you stoop to pick up a pile.
Also, you don’t have to be a leaf clearing super person. Take breaks between each section you work and don’t be afraid to ask other members of the household for a hand.