What's the Best Way to Shovel Snow?

Question: What's the Best Way to Shovel Snow?

The best way to shovel snow is to work smarter, not harder. Avoiding unnecessary work allows you to shovel snow more effectively:


Do you park your car in the driveway (as opposed to in a garage, for example)? Then shovel a path to your vehicle first. Then start the car and begin defrosting the windshield. You might as well start this process right away, letting your defroster do its job while you're busy shoveling.

By clearing a path to your vehicle first, you avoid packing down snow on the way. You would have to shovel that same snow later, anyhow, and packed snow is tougher to shovel than unpacked snow. So take care of it right from the get-go.

Don't bother too much about the remaining snow around your car at this point. Later, when you clear the snow off of your car's windshield, roof, etc., you'll be left with a ton of new snow all around the edge of your car. To be efficient, it's better to wait and remove it all at once in one final "touch up" at the end of the project. Remember, every additional scoop you make is extra strain on your body. Unless you're in great shape and treating the project as an opportunity for a workout, you should be aiming for conservation of movement.

Shovel snow somewhere else while you're waiting for your car's defroster to heat up the windshield. At some point after the snow and/or ice has been loosened by the heat, you can begin clearing it off of your car.

After it's all down on the ground, you can finish shoveling snow around the perimeter of your car, getting this part of the job out of the way once and for all.

Also don't fuss too much right away about shoveling the snow where your driveway intersects the road. As snow plows go by, they'll be filling that area with more snow.

Reserve this area till you're ready to pull out with your car -- or till after you've gone inside for a hot chocolate break near the end of the project. In fact, if you won't be pulling the car out of the driveway at all that day, you may just want to wait till the snow plows have finished plowing the road before tackling that part of your driveway.

The best way to shovel snow is to break up the job into smaller parts, resting in between. Try to clear your driveway in stages, rather than in one fell swoop. If the snowstorm has already ended, divide the workload into sections; if the snowstorm's still in progress, do some preliminary snow shoveling, then go back after the storm.

A lot of people make the mistake of creating huge snow piles all along the edge of the driveway -- not exactly the best way to shovel snow. It's better to throw each shovel-full a good distance away from your driveway. Here's why:


  1. Some of the chunks of snow will end up falling back into your driveway if you don't heave your shovel-fulls far enough away, creating extra work for you
  2. What happens when the next snowstorm comes? Those huge snow piles lining your driveway will be right in your way, making it harder for you to toss the new snow.


    Another mistake people make shoveling snow is forgetting where walkways or paths are that provide access to outbuildings, compost bins and the like. For example, they'll blindly start out by piling snow from the driveway onto a path to an outdoor storage shed, only to realize later that they need to clear off that path. So they end up moving the same snow twice -- obviously not the best way to shovel snow.