At first it went fairly smoothly, and I hauled away two big bags of leafy debris and swept all of the surface dirt and cobwebs from the bookshelf that nobody wanted when I put it up for offer. Then I turned it on end and quickly jumped back. The bottom of the shelf was covered with spider egg-sacs, and there were several black widows. *shudder* Fortunately, I'm not quite so foolish as to put my hand into dark unexplored places where spiders are known to lurk, and I had bug-spray at hand. A liberal dose of spray stunned the spiders long enough for me to sweep them to the ground, cover them with a board, stomp with enthusiasm, and discard the board.
I decided I'd better get rid of that bookshelf before doing anything else, so I carefully swept it clean and rolled it out to my van, then drove down to the nearest thrift store, where they were happy to take if off of my hands. (I also gave them a load of old shoes I'd been meaning to get rid of as well.)
Returning to the mess, I spent the next hour or so sweeping, filling bags, and hauling leafy debris. In the end, I filled four extra-large garbage sacks and one large cardboard box and hauled them all away to the dumpster. For the first time in more than a year, we have a patio again.
The little barbecue was surprisingly spider-free. I probably should have taken the stacked plastic chairs down to the thrift store with me because we never use them; they're leftovers from the San Jose Slan Shack when we had an actual back yard with pool rather than just a little postage-stamp patio. The sofa in the distance is a hulk that was here when we moved in, that I don't want, and that I've been meaning to ask the owner to have hauled away because I don't want to touch it -- I assume it's full of spiders despite me periodically spraying it. But perhaps I won't broach the subject with the owner until after I sign a new lease.
Update, 15:05: So of course, twenty minutes after finishing the cleanup, my upstairs neighbor decides it's time to do the same thing, and more junk rained down into my patio. Sigh.