Aerate, Fertilization, and seeding

We've been in our house for over a year now and my lawn has really gotten pretty terrible. Of course never having to take care of a lawn before is now showing. I haven't really done anything since we moved in, which is probably the biggest problem. The front lawn is in the worst shape with some small bare patches throughout. I've been doing some reading up, but I'm still pretty confused. I'm pretty sure I need to aerate the lawn. Like almost all the homes in this area of Northern Illinois, it was built on farmland and the soil has a lot of clay and I'm sure it's compacted. In addition I know I need to fertilize and I'd like to get the bare patches taken care of. Any thoughts on what I need to do in what order to not kill my lawn?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Adam
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I am in the same boat. It was suggested I aerate the lawn then rake in peat moss to hold the moisture. Then fertalize the lawn. Make sure you do not over apply fertalizer, it will burn your grass if over done. Apply when you are going to have at least 24 hours without rain. I also apply fertizer in the morning or in the evening. This way the fertizer and weed control will adhere to the grass rather than just hit the surface of the ground.
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rake in peat

you do not

Apply when you

fertizer in

control will

ground.
The 24 hours without rain only applies to Weed_N_Feed type products. No delay is needed for fertilizer.
Bob
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