If you are a Pennsylvania homeowner, chances are good you rue the winter. Not because the cold weather drives you out of your outdoor space (although, that’s pretty terrible too) but because of the white stuff that will soon cover your yard. All that snow has to go somewhere, and it’s not getting there itself.

Apart from a move to a snow-free state or barricading your family inside for the duration of winter, there’s no way to avoid the endless chore that is snow removal. There are, however, ways to make the process a little easier. Here are three effortless hacks to make the morning after a snowfall much less stressful.

Get Cooking (Spray)

Snow sticking to your shovel makes an already arduous task even more detestable. To keep snow and ice from adhering to your shovel, simply spray a light coating of cooking oil on its front and back. To avoid a mess later, remember to have some towels handy to wipe the tool down with once the snow is cleared. Voila, no more time wasted removing snow from your snow remover. Some homeowners use a spray lubricant like WD-40, but that is toxic and residue could seep into your landscaping.

Put on Your Socks After Your Shoes

Every time you step out onto your uncleared icy path, it feels like you are taking your life in your hands (or feet). To thwart unneeded falls when treading on icy ground, the second layer of socks should be put on over shoes. This unconventional method for added traction will give you one less thing to worry about as you are taking care of (snow) business.

Forget the Shovel

Have you ever protected your car windshield from snow and ice by placing a piece of cardboard on top of it to reveal a clean, scrape-free windshield the next morning? This snow removal hack works in the same way. When a winter storm is anticipated, place a plastic tarp over exposed stairs and walkways, with each corner held down by bricks or pieces of firewood. As unusual as it sounds, once the snow flurries end, all you need to do is pull up the corners of the tarp, uncovering a spotless, unfrozen path. Just keep in mind that a cubic foot of snow can weigh between 7 and 20 pounds. So, don’t get too ambitious with the size of your tarp or you might not be able to lift it once it’s full of snow.

No matter the amount of snow or how you choose to remove it, remember that snow removal is an important part of keeping your landscaping and hardscaping in good shape. When all that white stuff is gone, it could be your yard that pays the highest price. For other top tips on keeping your yard looking it’s best during winter, check out our winter yard maintenance blog.