Unclog gutters with these simple steps.

It's mucky, it's yucky, and for those of us who are afraid of heights, it can be downright frightening, but, alas, it is a job that must be done.
Grab the ladder, grit your teeth and get ready to clean the gutters.
To make gutter cleaning safer and simpler this season, take a positive, well-prepared approach.
First of all, don't go it alone.
Climbing a ladder toward the treetops is not only dangerous, it's downright foolish without enlisting the help of someone to stand below and hold the ladder steady. So before you climb, draft an assistant.
Second, get all your supplies in order before you begin.
Essentials: Some of the things you will need include a bucket, a long length of rope, a plastic scoop, heavy-duty gloves, a small garden trowel, a pair of tongs and a hose. (Hint: A plastic soda bottle with the bottom cut out will work well as a scoop.)
Once you have gathered your gear, it's time to get down to the nitty-gritty.
Make sure the ladder is resting securely against the side of the house but not resting solely against the gutters. The weight and pressure of a ladder against gutters can damage them or pull them down.
Put on your gloves, tie the rope around the bucket handle, stick the trowel, tongs and scoop inside the bucket, and with your helper holding the ladder, climb up.
Once you are at the top, hold the bucket in one hand and use the trowel to loosen debris and the scoop and tongs to plop debris into the bucket. Don't simply toss debris on the ground. This just makes more work for later.
When the bucket is full, lower it to the ground via the rope and have your helper empty it.
Using a rope to lower the bucket also allows you to have both hands free when you climb up and down the ladder.
If you like, you can also use a metal paint hook to hang the bucket near the job site so you don't have to hold it in your hand.
Don't stretch it: While you remove debris, clean only the parts of the gutter that you can reach comfortably. Do not attempt to stretch a little further to the right or left to get debris that is outside of your range of motion because you could lose your balance and fall.
When all areas you can reach comfortably are clean, climb down and move the ladder to the next section of gutter. Repeat the process until every inch of gutter is clean.
Use a hose to flush out any small debris left behind by the scoop and trowel. You'll know the gutters are clean if the water runs smoothly and swiftly out of the downspouts.
For downspouts stopped with stubborn debris, use a plumber's snake or a long screwdriver to dislodge clogs. The plumber's snake works especially well for clogs in the elbows of the downspouts.
Yearly maintenance: Although autumn's annual tumble of colorful foliage forces almost every homeowner to get out and rid gutters of a soggy abundance of leaves, gutters should actually be cleaned about three or four times a year.
If clogs aren't taken care of promptly, water won't drain off of the home's roof properly and large-scale problems will occur.
Some of these potential troubles include damaged siding and landscaping, damp or wet basements, and cracked or sinking foundations where water accumulates.
Gutters with excessive buildup might also pull loose and fall from the excess weight.
If your home's gutters are fitted with gutter screens, remember that leaves will still build up on top of the screens and if left unattended, the build up can cause the roof to rot.
If you really, really hate to clean your home's gutters, you can call a professional and have someone else do the dirty work.
Check the yellow pages for gutter cleaning services in your area. Prices sometimes start as low as $40 per cleaning.
XSources: Mrs. Fix It Easy Home Repair at www.kwtv.com/news/fixit/gutters.htm and Forever Clean Gutters at www.aok.org/gsclean.htm on the Web.