There's a long list of things we love about winter, including everything from powder turns to hot cocoa. But somehow shoveling the driveway never quite makes the list. However, there are a few tips and tricks that make it a lot more enjoyable, as you'll save your back, your sanity, and your time:
1. Make "early and often" your winter motto.
Once the first snow falls pull out your shovel and get going. Shoveling your driveway when the snow is still light and fluffy is exactly 700% easier than if you wait and it gets frozen and crusty. Once it sets up, you'll spend hours battling icy bumps, inconvenient frozen foot steps, and crusted tire tracks all winter. So, start shoveling early in the season, and make sure to shovel often as the snow continues. You'll be so glad you did.
2. Baby, it's cold outside.
One of the reasons people don't do a good job of shoveling their driveways early on in the season is they don't dress properly for the elements. Once the driveway is "good enough" they run back inside because they're cold. Be sure to dress properly before heading out as you'll be more likely to do a thorough job if you're warm enough, which will set you up for success over the course of the winter (see above).
3. Work Smarter, Not Harder.
As you start actually shoveling snow, start by clearing snow from edge of the driveway where the wind is coming from. That way, as you shovel snow, you won't be fighting the wind. Be sure to shovel out an extra few feet along both edge of the driveway to account for snow build up over the winter. Or, while the snow is still light, shovel snow away from areas that accumulation will be a problem, like sidewalks, mailboxes, etc.
4. Proper form, please.
In order to avoid injury (and, let's face it, humiliation) from shoveling, be sure you're using good form. You probably know to lift with your legs, not your back, but also be sure to:
- keep a solid stance, with feet about hip distance apart
- point your feet in the direction you're moving the snow
- remove snow in layers if it's really deep
- keep your back flat, don't round
5. Finish the job.
After the snow has been shoveled, you may want to finish up by salting high traffic areas, or breaking up any snow that is starting to compact. Then, hang your shovel up, head inside, and make yourself a nice hot toddy for a job well done!