In a week or so, our trees are gonna start droppin’ leaves like there’s no tomorrow. And before you know it, we’re going to have to deal with gunked-up gutters. But this year, the job will be a whole lot easier because I’m using a DIY gutter scoop that’s made from an empty laundry bottle. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start with a plastic fabric softener, detergent, or bleach bottle that’s no wider than your gutters. Most standard 100-oz. bottles will fit just fine, but choose a bottle that’s got a handle.
  • Rinse the bottle out, and replace the cap.
  • Turn the bottle so that the handle is on top, and slice off the bottom with a pair of scissors. Make sure the cut is angled so that the bottom of the bottle is much longer than the top—cut the top back nearly to the handle.

That’s all there is to it—your scoop is ready to slide along the gutter, scraping up any and all leaves and debris that are in its path. So grab some garden gloves and an extension ladder and dig in. Just a few words of caution before you get started, though: Whenever you’re up on a ladder, make sure you move it with you as you work, or you’ll stretch beyond your reach and could lose your balance. And never, ever hang on to a gutter or downspout because they can let loose with the slightest pull.

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