I disagree with the author on raking the dead leaves around budding plants. I never use a garden rake but a fan rake. It's perfect for getting under bushes and the wide teeth never hurt tender new shoots. Besides, once the shoots become full grown flowers or plants the leaves are still covering the ground and then you can REALLY damage the plants. However, I also clean up in the Spring. It's so much more invigorating and renewing.
I also use a small, soft rake to get the layer of pine needles out that have been a protective mulch over winter. Been doing this for years and I am gentle, so it works well. I don't want to rake the beds until they are bare, but to hand pick all the debris is too time consuming.
The blanket of leaves was easily and gently cleared out with a handheld, fan rake but they remained through the winter so it takes a couple of layers of removal and then the last ones by hand. I have kept the leaves nearby for quick frost cover as the chilly nights continue in zone 5a. My concern is mold breeding if the leaves stay on in the warmer weather.