National Good Neighbor Day: September 28th!
I recently discovered that we have a holiday, or observance, that is right around the corner from us that deserves more attention that it receives. National Good Neighbor Day occurs on September 28th and I thought that maybe it would be a good (or, great!?) idea to jot and rundown a few lists on how to BE a good neighbor!
Besides the obvious things we can do, I think that we sometimes overanalyze what we actually SHOULD do. We don’t need to bake our neighbors a pie or dozens of cookies each and every week (but, I would love to be your neighbor if you do!). Simple and random acts of kindness always seem to be those that stick out in our memories the most, so why not reciprocate those feelings of simplicity with thoughtful small actions this year!
Let’s celebrate our neighbors (that we like) on National Good Neighbor Day!
How to Be a Good Neighbor:
This list may include some tips that are way beyond your relationship with some of your current neighbors. If so, I would suggest that you possibly reach out to a new neighbor, or someone you’ve never approached while bringing in the groceries!
 Introduce Yourself:
Clearly, I realize this step may already happened. If not, introduce yourself to new residents on the block, or introduce yourself if you have just moved into the neighborhood. Offer a housewarming welcoming gift (homemade cookies or pie are always the best!0, or say hello and offer up small talk. Think up a question that you can ask to start the conversation ("Where’s the nearest playground? Is it pet-friendly? We’re eager to let the dog run around!"), or provide a great piece of advice or knowledge if you are welcoming someone new to YOUR block ("Garbage day is on Tuesdays and Fridays, but we only recycle on Tuesdays.")
 Be a Polite Parking Pal:
We have experienced a lot of inconsideration from our neighbors when it comes to parking their vehicles outside of our home(s). No matter where we have lived, I always seem to find neighbors that cannot properly park! Be sure not to block anyone’s access, or force them to pull out of very tight spot. If possible, park in front of your own home if a spot is available. Try to avoid your neighbors property; it’s not the law, but surely common decency! Don’t rev your engine or motorcycle early morning or late at night. Actually, avoid revving the engine at all times! Be sure to avoid having your headlights shining into your neighbors windows late at night.
 Alert Your Neighbors of Upcoming Parties:
Forewarn your neighbors if you are planning a party at your home that may go late, or interrupt their day or night in any way. Let them know the starting time and how long you are expecting the party to last. If it is appropriate, invite your neighbors to come on by for the party as well! Leave a contact phone number with your neighbor so that they can get in touch if things get too rowdy or noisy. Let them know that you expect them to use it and won’t at all hold a grudge, but encourage them to call if anything interrupts their evening. Remember to ask your party guests to be considerate of your neighbors. Do not allow any trash to be thrown onto their property. If possible and appropriate, leave a small garbage bin on your lawn or porch out front so that your guests avoid tossing trash onto the floor on their way out the door.
 Be Open To Give & Receive Invites:
Welcome your neighbors over for a family barbecue, let them know about an upcoming block party, invite them to contribute to your yard sales, offer to babysit their kids or pets while they’re on vacation. They will likely to do the same for you, but be sure to accept (when you can). Turning down their invites every time will start to put a poor taste in their mouths. Even if you can’t or don’t want to stay too long, do your best to make an appearance!
 Be Considerate of Your Neighbors Lifestyle:
It could take a few weeks, but try to learn your neighbors routine. Don’t get this mixed up with stalking; I am not encouraging you to watch their every move! Get to know what they do for a living, where their children attend school and which grades they are enrolled, what their daytime and nighttime patterns tend to be, etc. Consider their schedules and be respectful. For example, if your neighbors are working nights, mornings will be important to them as they lay down to rest. If they have small children just as you do, evenings will be quiet. Also, let them know of any of your routines that may interfere with the noise level, such as your son playing the drums every night at 7pm. This is also a good idea so that you will both be able to keep an eye out on one another’s homes for anything unusual.
 Be Courteous & Pay Attention to Shared Walls/Floors/Ceilings:
This issue is something that we are currently have a lot of trouble with in our condo. When you are in a rental unit, shared walls are going to be a big issue that you and your neighbors need to be equally attentive at all times. Attached home structures will very often rattle, shake, and vibrate when the adjoining resident is playing music loudly or blasting the television at a high volume level. Position any noisy household appliances away from partitioned/shared walls, such as washing machines, televisions, and speakers. If you live above someone, consider placing rubber matting or linoleum underneath your appliances to lessen or muffle the noise. Always remember that someone downstairs can hear you walking, talking, singing, running, and jumping!
 Control Your Pets:
There is nothing like a neighbors dog that barks uncontrollably, or is let loose all over your yard! Be sure to keep your dog on a leash and fenced in at all times, especially if your neighbors have children or your dog has a bad habit of rummaging through gardens. Clean up after your dog! No one wants to step in a pile of your dogs waste as I am sure you don’t want to do so either! If you have a noisy dog, be courteous and be aware of your neighbors right for peace and quiet. I’ve been woken up too many times while in the middle of a nap from my neighbors barking dogs. Consider seeking advice from a dog trainer or local animal organization if you are having a hard time quieting your dogs.
 Don’t Be a Greedy Grump:
It is very irritating to have 2′ feet of snow blocking your doorway only to notice your neighbor is using his snowblower and cleared a path from his door to sidewalk! It will only take you a few minutes to clear their sidewalk and they just might leave a plate of cookies and a bottle of wine on your doorstep! If your neighbor plows your driveway, leave cookies and wine on their doorstep!
If you are shoveling your driveway and sidewalk, be courteous of where you are tossing your snow! Don’t push it to a spot on your neighbors property that they will need to shovel themselves! Try to place the snow on the lawn, or any other place that will not require clearance. You are giving your neighbors double the work — and I can guarantee they are watching from the window cursing up a storm!
 Keep Your Lawn & Garden Neat and Clean:
Keep your garden and lawn neat and tidy! Please remember to weed your garden regularly. No one wants to look at weeds in your yard every single day as they are an eyesore for the entire block. Mow your lawn regularly, or hire a landscaper to handle your grass on a regular schedule. Ask if your neighbor or their children have any specific allergies or issues with any pesticides or other chemicals found inside of your lawn treatments.
Be aware of your barbecue or backyard fire, especially where the smoke and ashes are blowing. Control your bonfire and keep an eye if your neighbors children are out and about. Notify your neighbors in advance if you are planning a party that will include anything with smoke and fire. Your neighbors may want to keep their windows closed or avoid the yard.
 Be a Neighborly News Neighbor:
Share any neighborhood news that your neighbors would like to hear about, such as a local event, crimes, special garbage or recycle pickups, parking restrictions, or a lost dog/cat. Consider exchanging telephone numbers and/or email addresses with your neighbors so that you can avoid knocking on their door just to give them a neighborhood news tip. No reason to knock on the door and start an hour discussion over a possible rumor that you heard garbage is being moved to a Friday pickup! That’ll be a quick and easy text message instead…!
 Communicate With Your Neighbors:
Stay in touch with your neighbors on a regular basis and keep them in the loop and yourself, too. If you are going on a 2-week vacation and expect NO house sitters or guests, let them know so that they can alert the authorities if they notice lights on in your living room, or maybe they can take in your mail so that no suspicious persons pass by and see you are obviously out (robbery safety!). Tell your neighbors about your upcoming parties, garage sales, and start an open line of communicating back and fourth. Even the small and unimportant things will help to build a longterm relationship of "I scratch your back; you scratch my back" .
 Put rubbish/garbage out on the right day:
Most cities and counties will actually ticket homeowners if the trash is out too early, so be aware of your districts policies on taking the bins to the curb. Either way, be courteous of all neighbors in your community and place your rubbish out on the day it is due for collection. If you happen to miss the daily collection, bring the bins back onto your property as soon as possible and contain it properly to avoid attraction of rodents or insects in your neighborhood.
 Keep an Eye Out; Be aware of Your Surroundings:
You don’t have to be registered with your local neighborhood watch just to keep an eye out. If you see something – say something. You know your block very well, and you will notice something is out of the ordinary. Report any suspicious activities to local authorities, or to your neighbors if it isn’t something that requires local authorities. When in doubt, call the police so that they can properly handle any criminal activity.
 Be Nice & Never a Nasty Neighbor!
Reach out and be nice to your new neighbors. Welcome in any newbies to the block with open arms. They will be very thankful, especially since they aren’t aware of their surroundings and might be nervous to approach you! Try not to hold any grudes or give anyone a reason to dislike you or your family. Your neighbors are people that you will have to see and deal with on a daily basis. If you aren’t interested in starting or continuing a relationship with the family simply because your personalities or interests are too dissimilar, start to avoid situations that would place you together. Give a friendly wave on the way to your car, but you don’t have to make every day a long discussion in the driveway event!
Always remember.. sometimes we have to bite our tongues (really hard). You will always have to deal with your neighbors (well, at least until you move out or they leave). Try to skip fights about the small stuff and hold back when you are angry about something they have done to you or your property. Try to talk it out and discuss an issue before you start to pick and gripe about something. You will likely be able to reach an amicable resolution instead of starting a neighbor war! I have been in one too many wars with my neighbors, which has only escalated into terrible situations forcing someone to move out. Looking back, I wish we would have tried to get over it a lot harder than we did!