15 Ways You Can Be a Good Neighbor

You can be a good neighbor without having to bend over backwards. Here are some ideas.

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Offer to Get Their Mail While They’re Out of Town

Some people like to stop their mail delivery when they go out of town, but some burglars who case a neighborhood for a while will notice a postal worker not delivering mail there, and some will even steal mail. If you want to be a good neighbor, offer to bring in their mail. With your neighbor’s permission, grab packages left on the porch and mail overflowing from the mailbox and bring them inside for when your neighbor returns home.

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Dog In House Westend61/Getty Images

Watch Their Pet

Dog watching can be a huge help to neighbors because pet boarding is expensive. If they have a new puppy that can’t be left alone for the whole work day, it’s great to have a neighbor home who can check on it. Cats are a little easier to leave alone, but when heading out of town for the weekend, a neighbor is the perfect person to refill the food bowl or check that the smart pet feeder is working.

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Shovel Their Driveway

If you live in a snowy climate, one of the most neighborly things to do is to shovel or plow their driveway for them, particularly if you have a snow blower. In Minnesota, there’s a famous story about neighbors who shoveled former Vikings quarterback Case Keenum’s driveway last year. With the right snow removal tools, you’ll have yours and your neighbor’s cleared in no time.

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Neighbors Sharing Garden Harvest FangXiaNuo/Getty Images

Share Baked and Garden Goods

When your vegetable garden grows too fast for your family to eat everything, or when you have a hundred leftover holiday cookies, it’s the perfect opportunity to be a good neighbor. Sharing with a neighbor is always a great icebreaker to introduce yourself.

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Try a Block Party

Block parties don’t have to be big events. Many neighborhoods hold Night to Unite (also known as National Night Out) block parties each year. A simple barbecue party will do the trick. It’s a great way to get to know people.

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Trim Tree Branches and Bushes

Overgrown tree branches are a common point of contention among neighbors. Your neighbor doesn’t want to see overgrown bushes or gangly trees, so do yourself and your neighbor a favor by keeping branches trimmed neatly — pay special attention to anything that hangs over their yard and could impact their property.

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Help Rake Leaves

Raking leaves is one of those fall chores that has to be done, but you can make it easier for a neighbor by lending a hand. Even one extra person can cut the chore time in half. And working with a friend is always more fun. Grab your leaf rake and move that yard waste to the compost pile.

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Offer Help With Work on the Home

If you can provide some help to a neighbor working on a home project, you’ll be a super helpful neighbor. People often have trouble asking for help, so if you offer, they’ll likely appreciate it.

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burglarChristian Delbert/Shutterstock

Be a Good Neighbor and Watch for Suspicious Activity

Neighbor vigilance is a pretty good way to prevent theft. It’s important to alert neighbors about suspicious activity because thieves will often return to the same area.

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Bringing In Trash Bins Gettyimages Dv1709021Janie Airey/Getty Images

Bring Your Trash Bin In

Trash day was Monday, but it’s Wednesday and your busy schedule has led you past your trash bins on the street two days in a row for that restful seat on the couch. While you may not care, your neighbors have to wake up to the eyesores on the street each morning, so just take the extra time and roll them in!

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Help Pick Up Trash if it Blows Over

The last thing anyone wants to come home to is a trash can that has blown over or one that blew over before the trash collector came. Help a neighbor out by picking up the trash.

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Don’t Hang Laundry Over the Fence

So, you and your neighbor built a fence to define your space. That’s good! But if you’re constantly draping your wet towels or other laundry over the fence, that’s just annoying. Keep the peace by keeping your stuff on your side of the fence.

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Don’t Clean at Odd Hours

Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, neither is the best time to turn on the vacuum and music. What may seem a reasonable time to you may not be acceptable to others. For instance, if your neighbors have small children, try not to fire up the leaf blower at naptime.

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Don’t Try to Keep Up with the Joneses

In case you didn’t know, waxing your Maserati every morning in the front yard so the neighbors can see is obnoxious. And, there are other ways you can annoy neighbors regarding possessions and prosperity. When a neighbor tells you about their new washer and dryer or barbecue grill, don’t always feel you have to one-up them with a detailed description of what you just bought. Be gracious and grateful.

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Know the Property Lines

If your neighbor didn’t locate their property lines before building a shed or other outdoor structure along the edge of their yard, there’s a chance it’s at least partially on your property. If that’s the case, it’s up to you whether you want to have the structure moved. It will almost certainly create tension between you and your neighbors, but property line markers are there for a reason.