The first thing that any person should look at when they doing a garden cleanup is to get rid of any pests and disease that may be in your garden. When you rake up old leaves and debris, you are removing a hiding place for overwintering insects and pests. A good garden cleanup also involves taking care of the compost pile. This should be spread evenly over the plants to protect them and adds a layer of nutrients for the winter struggle. The sides of the garden can also be raked and should usually be cut back a little, but , do not cut back spring flowers until they have bloomed.
All debris that is left over form cleaning must be kept in one pile until the end as you never know when you will find some more odds and ends that you can add to throw away. If you have any plans to add anything to your garden during your clean up make sure you keep that spot clear all around so you can visualize it clearly. If you have chosen to do your clean up in spring, this is the best time of year for weeding as the compost is usually damp and this si best time to weed. Also remember do not throw compost where you have just weeded as there is a high chance it will grow back.