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There are a lot of great things about fall, but raking leaves isn’t one of them. It’s a tiresome chore that can take hours out of a precious weekend day. And then there’s a good chance you’ll wake up the next day to a lawn covered in leaves that fell the night before.

A lot of people wait until all their leaves have fallen before raking them, and some people don’t even bother at all, and pick up their leaves when they start mowing again in the spring. But if you’re selling your home, that’s not an option. For reasons both aesthetic and safety-related, raking leaves is sure to be a big part of your routine this fall.

Rake thoroughly. You never know what potential buyers might notice. Be sure to clear leaves that are in garden beds or that are nestled next to your fence. Safety is a big reason why leaves need to be raked—wet or damp leaves can be slippery. So be sure to clear leaves off your driveway, walkway or patio, as well as off your lawn.

Bag your leaves. There are neighborhoods that allow residents to pile their leaves at the curb for pickup, but bagging is best when selling a home. Those piles can look unsightly, and a good wind can blow them back onto your yard. If you bag leaves, you know they’ll be gone on trash day. Avoid plastic bags, which are unsightly and bad for the environment. Large brown paper yard bags are recyclable and also can be used to keep grass for composting.

Make it family time. If the whole family rakes together, the job will get done quicker. Give everyone a section, and also add in a little fun. Make time for snacks, a little play time break for a football catch and, of course, jumping into piles of leaves.

Be smart about raking. If you’re using a small, rusty rake, it’s time to invest in a new one, it’ll make the job much easier. Also, be sure to wear work gloves while raking to avoid blisters or cuts from picking up leaves and sticks. Rake when leaves are dry. Another step that can make raking easier? Use a lawn mower to pick up leaves. Finally, be sure to do an inspection and pick up loose leaves, twigs and other debris, especially in high-traffic areas.

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