5 min readBy Published On: January 13th, 2024Categories: Features2 Comments on Be Prepared: Snow Shoveling Tips + Suggestions

Last Tuesday, I saw a guy at D & West 9th Streets scraping the ice off his car with a stringless tennis racket. Then, on Wednesday, I saw a reel of a different guy on Day Boulevard doing the same thing…scraping the snow and ice off his car with a tennis racket. It didn’t appear to be the most efficient tool for the job.

My first thought was there are at least two guys living in Southie in January who own an old tennis racket but not a car ice scraper. Talk about a lack of preparation! What are the odds of these guys owning a shovel? Did you not hear about the big storm bearing down on New England? The local news was all fired up for a week. I know a lot of our younger neighbors don’t watch 4 hours of local news every day like I do, but they had to have heard or seen something about it. And even if they didn’t, it’s January in Boston. It’s going to snow. Be prepared! It’s easy and might save you time getting your car and front sidewalk dug out after a storm. If you don’t clear the sidewalk in front of your house and throw some of those ice melt pellets down, you’re a jerk. Be a good neighbor. Here are some helpful suggestions to get through winter in Boston.

The tools for the job.

First, you need the right tools for the job – a shovel, a car brush/ice scraper, and some ice melt/rock salt. How do people around here not own these things? I happen to own two shovels, just in case anyone in my family wants to help me out (lol). In the off-season, you can just store the shovel in the basement, yard, or back deck. Throw the ice scraper in your trunk and forget about it. If you’re really prepared, you’ll have a spare ice scraper in your hallway. As for the ice melt, get a bag of it around mid-December and put it with the shovel or leave it in your trunk. You can get all these things at the True Value hardware store (support local business) on Dorchester Street at the front of the store for relatively short money. One-stop shopping, and you have what you need.

Snow Day Execution

I also have some ideas on how to prepare for and execute on game day aka a snow day. Put the shovel and ice melt near the front door, get the scraper out of the trunk (unless you have a second one in your hallway), and put it with the shovel. You don’t want your trunk frozen shut with the ice scraper in it. And, of course, I have a system of clearing off the car and digging out. Everyone has their own method, but my way is the right way.

First, start the car and put the heat on to start melting snow and ice on the windows. Make sure to clear any snow from the tailpipe so the exhaust doesn’t back up into the car, causing a buildup of carbon monoxide.

While the car is heating up, start shoveling at the front corner on the street side. Shovel back to about three-quarters down the side of the car, and you should be able to drive out. I don’t understand why people start shoveling at the back of the car. If you’re parallel parked, you can’t back out of a spot even if there’s no snow.

Then clean up the parking spot a little, and you can put your space saver of choice there for a couple of days after the end of a declared snow emergency. See our Unofficial Rules for Saving a Spot After a Snowstorm. 

Be a good neighbor

You should always shovel out in front of your house.  Clean off your stoop and the sidewalk area directly in front of your home. If you own your home, not only is it a courtesy, but it’s also the law, and you can be fined for not shoveling. Spread ice melt if the area is slippery. There is nothing more treacherous than walking in the winter along a city block when you come across an unshoveled sidewalk or an iced-over area with no ice melt.

While shoveling, whether it’s your sidewalk or car, be mindful of your neighbors and their sidewalks and cars.  Don’t take the snow you just shoveled and plop it down along their car or in front of their house. Put your snow in neat piles near a tree or street corner. You may have to walk a few feet, but we are all in this together, right? Don’t throw your snow at a bus stop or onto city streets or bury a hydrant. That’s not allowed.

Speaking of hydrants, with snow covering the ground in the neighborhood, the city is looking for good citizens to step up and shovel the hydrants in your neighborhood. Currently, the responsibility lies with the Boston Fire Department, but it’s nice to be nice, so help out Boston’s bravest.  When volunteers pitch in, it helps uncover the hydrants more quickly and ultimately makes the neighborhood safer! Plus, if you’re a kid and you shovel out a hydrant, Rep. David Biele will buy you an ice cream. (Visit here for rules). Maybe if Biele offered a beer at Tom English’s for adults, the hydrants would be shoveled out, no problem.

If there is an elderly person on your block, make sure their stoop and sidewalk are shoveled for them. If they own a car, shovel it out for them.

So there you have it.  Some helpful tips and advice to survive the snow in Boston while being a good neighbor.  PS If you’re using a tennis racket as an ice scraper, you come off as a dope.

Happy shoveling!




  1. Justyn Tyme January 18, 2024 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    A perfect example of plain old COMMON SENSE which is sorely lacking among many of our younger generations.

  2. Justyn Tyme January 25, 2024 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    The best suggestion I heard about Shoveling Snow was: MOVE TO FLORIDA! And I did!!!!!!!!!

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