When you own a home, you have a lot more responsibilities. The lawn, the mortgage, the bills, home owner insurance, property tax etc… Just don’t forget the little things about maintaining your home: Trimming the hedges, repainting and of course, the importance of regular gutter cleaning.

It’s easy to forget simply because the gutters are kind of out of site. If your toilet is on the fritz, you’re gonna know it. But your rain gutters might be more backed up than a Los Angeles highway, and you won’t know it til you get the ladder out. Nonetheless, you gotta clean’em out from time to time if you want your roof to stay in one piece!

So here’s what to keep in mind when it comes to gutter maintenance…

Don’t Wait Til Rain Season!

Don’t just wait until the rainy season! When it starts raining, it’s too late. Not only are your gutters already clogged, preventing proper flow, you’re also going to wind up scooping out a bunch of yucky, clumpy stuff instead of just dry leaves! Anyways, who knows what could be in there? Your kids baseball? A bird’s nest? Check them at least once a month. You might not have to clean them that often, but at least check them.

Try Some Gutter Guards

These things are great, like shields for your gutters. They basically just keep the junk out. They won’t keep ALL of the junk out, just enough of it that the actual cleaning process will be a lot easier. They’re not too pricey, either, and they can seriously take some of the legwork out of the equation, so they’re definitely a sound investment.

Clean Them Right

Well… You get up there with a ladder and gloves and scoop that junk out with your hands. This is why it’s preferable to do it before it rains, so you won’t be scooping out mildew and soil. Dry leaves are easy to scoop out in a handful, wet gunk is a little trickier. So keep your ladder and gloves handy, and you can either bring a garbage bag with you or toss it to the ground and pick it up when you’re done.

Have the Boy Do It!

If you’re the father of a son, then this is your parental right and privilege: Have your son do it! It’s a rite of passage in any father-son relationship! You can delineate the task as either punishment, a means of earning allowance, or as a regular chore. The trick is to sit back in a lawn chair with a cold drink and give them advice as they go.