This is not a new idea, and I’m not pretending I thought of it. (Just wanted to make that clear up front.) But I’ve started doing this, and it’s one of the most practical, time- and money-saving ideas I know of. Ready?
When you clean out your beds this fall or winter, pile all the leaves and trimmings on the lawn. Then take your lawn mower out, set it the mowing height to its maximum, and get to it! Go slow, and don’t worry if you stall out the mower a few times. Go back and forth a few times, and you’ll have nicely shredded yard waste.
Rake it into a pile, then you can do one of three things: put it back into your flower beds as a mulch; put it in your compost bin (it will compost much more quickly since it’s already so nicely shredded); or, if you prefer to get rid of it, just put it into a yard waste bag. Shredded, it takes only a fraction of the space and you can fit four or five bags worth into just one. But really, why throw it away? It’s a marvelous mulch or compost. And it doesn’t leave a mess where you mowed it. Nor is it hard on your mower (as long as you don’t try to mow any branches or rocks!).
I’ve long advocated mowing leaves on lawns. Why bother raking, collecting and disposing of them when you don’t need to? So this is just a logical next step. And it WORKS! See the before and after below, taken on the same day (I swear).