How a Cardboard Box Can Be a Quick and Easy Go-To for Clearing Snow Off Your Car

Is it the ideal solution? Maybe not. But it sure does get the job done better than using nothing at all.

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A person shoveling snow in Boston
Photo: JOSEPH PREZIOSO / Contributor (Getty Images)

Recently, I was reminiscing about the time I moved to Boston. Like the very smart person that I clearly am, I made the move from Atlanta in January because moving to New England in the middle of winter seemed like less of a bad idea than trying to make a long-distance relationship work for even longer. The relationship didn’t work in the end, but I did learn one neat trick for clearing snow off a car you don’t care about.

You see, while I knew it was going to be cold and would snow, I didn’t realize that I had chosen to move to Boston in the snowiest winter in the city’s recorded history. My good grandparents lived outside of Chicago before they died, so I thought I was prepared for snow. Unfortunately for me, even Boston wasn’t prepared to get that much snow. We got over 100 inches that winter, which is a lot by Boston standards and a massive amount by recent-transplant-from-Georgia standards.

I didn’t want to sacrifice my E39 540i to New England’s snow and pothole-riddled roads, so my one way to get around other than walking or taking public transportation was my then-girlfriend’s Chevrolet Aveo. I may have actively disliked the Aveo, but it was a car, and it generally did work, which was a blessing, because if you think auto journalist salaries are low, you should see what freelancers early in their career make. We’re talking “this credit card debt is an investment in my future” money here.

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But anyway, where was I? Oh yes. All that snow and that Chevy Aveo. As you can imagine, it quickly became a giant pain in the ass to have to clear off the car every time we wanted to drive somewhere. Shoveling the driveway was also a pain in the ass, but that’s another story for another post.

One day, though, looking out and seeing at least a foot of snow on the car’s roof, an idea occurred to me. I grabbed a large broken-down cardboard box and used it to scoop and shove all the snow off the car. And it worked so well and so quickly, it was like I’d just discovered a cheat code. Just slide it between the snow and the roof, tilt the back up a bit, and push all of that snow off the back. It may take two or three passes depending on how wide your car is, but in less than a minute, your roof will be snow-free.

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Are the Paint Preservation Enthusiasts probably going to yell at me about how I actually should have installed a carport to keep the snow off the car and how using cardboard is a damnable sin? Probably. But remember, we’re talking about a Chevy Aveo here. GM selling it here was already a sin, and I couldn’t have possibly cared less about preserving the paint on a car that deserved to be set on fire and destroyed.

I’m also not here to declare that I’m the first person to ever figure this out. I’m sure other plenty of other people have gotten desperate and discovered the utility of a snow-clearing moving box. But I will say that when I mentioned this innovation to Lalita, our delightful Deputy Editor who lives in a very snowy area of Michigan, she had no idea what I was talking about. She’d never heard of doing anything similar and didn’t even understand how it would work.

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So in service to any of you who park outside and get frustrated with how much snow you have to clear off a car you don’t care about, I’d like you to know that a cardboard box can easily replace a broom or your arms. It might not be the ideal solution, but it does work. And it’s easily stored in your car. Hopefully, your car isn’t a Chevy Aveo, but if it is, I’ll pray for you.