Meet new neighbors

The Reverse Welcome Wagon: Fun Ways to Draw New Neighbors to Your Home

What a great feeling when you finally turn the key and open the door to your new home!  After you settle in, you may start to wonder about the new neighbors. They’re likely to be as curious about you as you are about them.

And while the practice of established residents greeting new neighbors may have fallen by the wayside in some communities, why not revive the “welcome wagon” tradition with a tweak: Rather than wait for your neighbors to welcome you, why not introduce yourself? Here are some great ways to reach out and meet your new neighbors when you move in.

Start a free lending library. 

There’s a grassroots movement of erecting little lending libraries in yards that takes inspiration from Andrew Carnegie’s famous sponsorship of public lending libraries. If you have the space, some books, and you want to encourage reading in your community, consider building a Little Free Library in your front yard. Essentially, it’s a house-shaped box full of books set up at the end of your driveway or sidewalk where anyone can stop by and pick up a book or two and bring back another to share.

Hold a yard sale. 

You may have gone through a bit of a purge when you left your old home, but you never really know what you’re going to need (or want) to keep until you actually move in—a perfect excuse to hold a yard sale. For those who get hooked on meeting the neighbors while rummaging through what’s for sale, consider the Yardsale app, which has become as popular for making friends as it has for selling off mismatched china.

Plant a garden.

It’s about making yourself visible, really. Depending on your available space and time, a new garden bed can be a great project to help you enjoy the outdoors, meet the neighbors and even garner some advice from seasoned green thumbs. Sprucing up and trimming existing plantings can be equally effective. For those with higher horticultural and civic aspirations, the American Community Gardening Association can guide you through steps to organize a shared, community garden in your new neighborhood.

Arrange a playdate.

Kids can always help break the ice. If you notice a neighbor or two with kids of similar ages as your own, send out an invite for an informal early morning playdate (when kids are typically at their best). Set out some snacks and keep it short—an hour is about perfect. This technique also works for pets, too.

Throw a porch party.

A house party is a classic method of meeting new neighbors, and that’s because it works. Simplify the concept with a porch party. Let the neighbors know a week or two in advance. And then set up a table on a front porch, balcony (or even in the front yard), lay out some punch and light appetizers, fire up some music, and let the neighbors serve themselves. A late Sunday afternoon should be ideal.

Celebrate National Neighborhood Day.

If you don’t have plans for the third Sunday this September, you do now. For communities across the country, this day marks the celebration of National Neighborhood Day. It aims to bring together community members in shared civic projects. Find out what you can do to get neighbors involved in everything from planning a block party to organizing a neighborhood walk and/or cleanup.

There’s plenty to be excited about when you move into a new house. Take a few minutes to consider how you’d like to roll out the welcome wagon and meet your new neighbors. Before you know it, your new house and neighborhood will be feeling like home.

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