Grand County endured so much in 2020, but one of the most amazing lessons we’ve taken away has been about the power of community. Whether we ran errands for someone in quarantine, sheltered families who lost their home, donated items for people in need, or simply checked in on each other with a friendly hello from the driveway, it became increasingly clear that when it comes to neighbors, well, we need each other.
Here are some easy ways to bring that neighborly vibe to your own community.
1. Introduce yourself to new neighbors as soon as possible, and bring along a small welcome gift like a bottle of wine or a houseplant.
2. If you're the one who's new to the neighborhood, consider inviting your neighbors over for a socially distant drink on the deck. It's a good way to get to know your neighbors while staying safe.
3. Greet your neighbors when you see them. A simple "hello," friendly smile, or wave from the driveway can go a long way in building a good neighborly relationship.
4. Make it a point to learn your neighbors' names.
5. Pay attention to your neighbors' work schedules. If they work nights, keeping unnecessary noise to a minimum when they're likely to be sleeping — morning and early afternoon — will be greatly appreciated.
6. Be a responsible pet owner. Making sure your pet isn't causing excessive noise or encroaching on the neighbors' space. If you take your dog for walks, take along a supply of waste pickup bags so neighbors won't find "surprises" in their yards.
7. When doing routine outdoor maintenance like shoveling your walkway, offer to do the same for your neighbor while you're at it.
8. Know your neighbor is going through a difficult time or battling an illness? Bringing over an easy-to-reheat meal can help show your support and reduce one source of stress — this is especially true if they have young children to cook for.
9. Do your part to keep your neighborhood looking nice. This includes picking up trash from public spaces when possible.
10. Speaking of trash, follow the local trash pickup schedule, and don't leave your empty trash can — or worse, an overflowing one — at the curb for longer than necessary to attract bears and critters.
11. Give your neighbors a heads-up if you'll be doing a large yard project or a remodel. They'll appreciate being able to anticipate the extra noise and commotion.
12. If you're having guests over, make sure they're not using a neighbors' parking space or blocking a driveway.
13. Pay attention to your yard lights and vehicle headlights to make sure they're not shining into the neighbors' windows.
14. Especially during stormy winter weather, offer to pick up anything your neighbor needs when you're going grocery shopping to save them a trip.
15. Attend meetings for your neighborhood association or homeowners’ association, and do your part to keep it a great place to live.
16. Organize a neighborhood service project like a trail cleanup or doing outdoor chores for elderly residents in the fall.
17. Offer to lend things — snowblower, household tools, a cup of sugar — if your neighbor has a need.
18. Taking a walk? Invite your neighbor to join or offer to take their dog with you.
19. Volunteer to sign for packages or water plants for your neighbor if they're going on vacation.
20. Learn your neighbors' birthdays and other holidays they celebrate. Just wishing them a happy birthday or joyous Chinese New Year in passing can mean a lot.
21. Organize a neighborhood fundraiser or meal train for anyone in your neighborhood facing financial or medical challenges.