Clear Snow the Laziest Way Imaginable





Introduction: Clear Snow the Laziest Way Imaginable

About: A lowly geologist who likes to build stuff.

In the true Olympic spirit I wanted to test a truly effortless method of clearing snow off your car, steps or driveway that even Homer would be proud of. This is a concept that I've wanted to try out for over a decade and finally got around to it. I found a few links and videos that describe the method (after the fact); so this is not an original idea. The idea is very simple: put out a tarp or plastic sheet prior the snowfall and pull it away at a strategic time. The original concept was to have a really giant tarp which covers the driveway (cars), walkways and steps which could be pulled into the street with a vehicle. This is actually against the law in most jurisdictions (transferring your snow onto the street). So if you are going to do this, you'll need to figure out a way to pull it into your yard.

If you try this please let me know how it went and expect people to think you are crazy (check out the guy stopped in his tracks in the animated gif above!).

***Safety Warning: The tarp or plastic sheet is extremely slippery when covered in snow. Make sure that any potential pedestrian doesn't take a major spill on your property!***

Step 1: ITEMS

All you really need is a tarp, plastic sheeting (even the bag your mattress came in). I needed the firewood to keep the tarp from flying away and the twine is to provide some towing options.

Step 2: Tying Off the Tarp

The fully scaled version of this concept will cover a lot more ground, and I was considering using my van to pull out the tarp. If you get to that scale you should consider a more robust tarp tie off (wrap a ball in the corners and tie around the ball or rock as explained in this book and image). In this case I just used the existing grommets with a couple lengths of twine. The name of the knot is a "Lark's Head" (thanks to mhjii for the name).

Step 3: Laying Out the Tarp

You basically want to cover the area in question and make sure the tarp does not fly away. If you are covering a car you could use some bungee cords to tighten around the bottom; I used some firewood to keep the tarp down in this case. After there was a good coat of snow down, I pulled out all the logs so I didn't have to deal with them later. I tied the twine onto the handle of a shovel so I wouldn't have to dig around to find them after the storm.

Step 4: Let It Snow and Yank It Out

If you scale this up to cover a wider area, you may end up needing some serious horsepower to move the snow. I envisioned using a car to pull the load into the street, but this is not legal and has many potential safety issues. The best approach would be to pull it onto your yard somehow.

Let me know if you try this out or if you have a variant on this approach; and remember spring is just around the corner.

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207 Discussions

when I was a kid 1980 we had a neighbor from Poland. He was making a new drive way & nobody could figure out what he was doing as he first laid out pipes and vents then covered with a shinny metal then he poured cement but was a type he boiled ( not tar) . when it was done He made what I would call hockey puck size holes in his drive way in a crazy pattern. We all thought this old timer had lost his mind & was ruining his new drive way! He then inserted what we thought was some decorative rocks that were the exact size. Winter came and he never had snow on his driveway (in chicago ). we found out he was putting in pure salt mined from Poland & whatever else was going on underneath kept off snow. after winter he would put decorated plugs in the holes. the ironic part is he died of a heart attack shoveling the sidewalk.


2 years ago

this is ingenious!


2 years ago

HAH! Man, this is a good one. I don't live in Snow Land anymore but I ever move back will definitely give it a try. I see a bunch of people have criticized the concept, but hey, you were shooting for the laziest way imaginable and at the moment I can't imagine a lazier way, so you are winning ;-)

1 reply

Thanks, most people that are criticizing haven't tried it... thanks for the comment.

I tried something similar with my wife's minivan. Backed it in the driveway, then put a 12' x 16' tarp on top tucking in the front on the 2 doors, then draping it over the back with 2 heavy weighted bags to keep it from blowing away. After the storm, I cleaned out in front of the van, then dusted off the doors and pulled out the sections of tarp and started up the van. Just drove it out slowly and all of the snow came off w/the tarp. Will try and do an Instructable next snowstorm. It was a real time saver, especially cleaning off the top of the van which is a law to do in my state.

3 replies

Great! thanks for sharing. enjoy the rest of winter!

Just FYI, that's a great way to scratch your car.

Thanks, but it's a 2006 Dodge Caravan. If I cared about every scratch on it, I wouldn't have tried it. It didn't add anything more to the process than a soft broom would have. Clean up was the same.

Oh, no. My mother would have never let me do this back in the day during various Kansas blizzards. It was shovel or die, where she was concerned. <laughing>
Good "ible". Thanks.

1 reply

I am glad you survived. thanks for the comment!

Probably works very well in places getting the average snowfall most places do. Places that have school off the next day when they get an inch or so.

But places where is a winter where 2-3 feet per (many) storms is not unusual would have to beef up the tarps, ropes, and definitely use a car to pull the stuff out of the way (and try to find a place to put it). Years ago Erie, PA would empty plowed snow piles from parking lots by trains to Florida. They had to find a way to make space to put more plowed snow piles. The Erie newspaper would show pics of kids in Florida playing in it.

1 reply

i can really picture it, great anecdote! They pile it high in fields here and some years it almost lasts through the summer. thanks for the comment

I am patient.

I know by August the snow will be gone.

1 reply

That works great as long as your other car is a snowmobile and your job is Trapper! i am looking forward to that stage of MY life. thanks for the comment.

Just be careful when using a plastic tarp on your walkway / steps / front porch as this is a major slip hazard....

1 reply

ooh, great comment, and very true. i updated the instructable right after i saw your comment. thanks so much!

nice, she happens to be an artist that isn't blocked on youtube. great tune too.


2 years ago

brilliant...absolutely it lol

1 reply