The physics of leaf raking

I get a lot of leaves to rake this time of year.  Up until today, I had been raking a bunch into a pile, stuffing them in a bag, raking up another bunch, stuffing them in the bag, so on and so forth.  I didn’t mind the raking so much as the stuffing in the bag; it was cumbersome to pick up the leaves and control the bag.

Today I decided to break up the task into two parts.  Early in the morning I raked up the leaves into a number of piles around the yard.  I left them there until the afternoon.

When I went to pick up the leaves and put them in the bags, I found that letting them sit for few hours caused them to settle together somehow so that they were much easier to pick up and drop in the bag.  Immediately after raking leaves into a pile, they are fluffy and hard to control, but after letting them sit it was almost like the leaves jumped into the bag by themselves!

Now, this could be related to the types of leaves that fall into my yard, so your mileage may vary, but I recommend every leaf raker at least give it a try.  (BTW, my wife thinks this is crazy.)

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