Usually you think about your gutters in fall. But plenty of debris can accumulate there in the six months since you last cleaned them.

It’s easy to miss leaves from trees that don’t go bare until late fall. They’re probably still up there. Storm-blown sticks aren’t going anywhere by themselves. Many trees drop spring buds and flowers, and then there are the clouds of white cottony stuff blowing from the cottonwoods. By the middle of May, it’s time to clean the gutters again. Here are a few safety tips.

* You’ll be climbing a ladder, so don’t wear loose clothes that could trip you up or catch on the ladder or the gutter. Wear shoes that easily grip each rung of the ladder.

* Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes and wear work gloves so you won’t be cut by something sharp, which could also startle you and make you fall.

* Always work with a partner who can hold the ladder and help to move it to the next work spot, and who can call for help if you fall or are injured.

* Use a trowel instead of your hands, even if you are wearing gloves.

* Dump debris into a garbage can below. If you miss it, you can sweep up when you’re finished. Never carry a trash bucket up the ladder.

You may not look forward to the project, but gutters are needed to carry water away the foundation and basement. And they can prevent wall damage on the inside of a home.

Put safety at the top of your list.

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