Whether you rent or own your home, we all want to experience happiness and community with our neighbors. In fact, “the sense of community contributes to social capital.” Creating a sense of community is more than just waving to the neighbors when you pull out of the garage each morning. It isn’t a complex chore to create an inclusive, enjoyable neighborhood. In fact, creating a sense of community where you live is as simple as having a yard sale or making chili. If you’re looking for ways to get to know your neighbors, these five tips are an easy and practical way to create community with your neighbors.
1. Organize a Neighborhood Yard Sale
Ask just about anyone, and they probably have “junk” they need to clear out of their attic or garage. And who doesn’t love having a few extra dollars as well? By organizing a neighborhood-wide community yard sale, neighbors are coming together to not just sell stuff, but to create a sense of community. Whether it’s late night sign making parties, neighborhood children lemonade stands, or even friendly competition to see who sells the most, this easy method helps individuals and communities. And by creating an entire neighborhood yard sale, more shoppers tend to show up to multiple yard sales rather than just one in a neighborhood.
As spring arrives next year, begin approaching your neighbors about spring cleaning and a neighborhood yard sale!
2. Host a Progressive Dinner
Once common, progressive dinners are a fun twist on a potluck party! Instead of one home hosting the entire meal and everyone bringing their homemade dishes to that house, a progressive dinner is a multiple-stop dinner! There are many ways to organize a progressive dinner — one home might serve appetizers, another home might serve an entree, and the final home serves the desserts. In a neighborhood, this is an easy way to meet multiple neighbors without one person doing all the work! What a great way to mingle while eating and then walk together to the next stop on the meal tour!
As the temperatures drop and the leaves change, consider organizing a progressive dinner that encourages theme nights or even competition! For example, one month’s progressive dinner could be a chili cook-off with the winner getting bragging rights until the next cook-off. Plus, another benefit of progressive dinners is finding new meals and recipes from your fellow neighbors.
3. Schedule a Carpool Calendar
Dance practice, football games, and tutoring are just some of the numerous appointments parents have to juggle each day for their kids. But why not coordinate with other neighborhood parents to take turns with carpool? Whether the carpool is for school drop-off, pick-up, or after school practice, by coordinating a carpool, a sense of community with other parents develops. It’s also a great way for kids in the neighborhood to connect with kids their age.
4. Create a Facebook Group
With more than one billion active users, there’s a good chance your neighbors are on Facebook. A private Facebook group is an easy, free way to create a sense of community! These groups are a great way to notify neighbors of POA meetings and exchange contacts for lawn crews, heat/air companies, painters, and more. With just the click of a button, your neighborhood can know your child is selling Girl Scout cookies, an upcoming neighborhood event, or promote a home for sale in the neighborhood.
A Facebook group immediately creates an online community that can easily transfer to a sense of community in your neighborhood!
5. Deliver a Neighborhood Newsletter
It doesn’t require a journalism degree to create an informative neighborhood newsletter. Using common programs, drafting a newsletter can be an easy way to keep neighbors abreast of upcoming events, announcements, and accomplishments. Many newsletters include a “Meet Your Neighbor” profile that features a different neighbor each month. Other ideas to include in a newsletter are accomplishments of local neighbors like a neighbor’s child winning a scholarship award, a neighbor getting married, or other exciting information. Newsletters can be mailed or even hand-delivered to neighbors.
Getting to know your neighbors and creating a sense of community isn’t difficult. With minimal effort, the strangers living a few doors down could become your new best friends. Through dinners, newsletters, or even Facebook, you might just discover you and your neighbors share the same taste in music, sports teams, or a favorite author!