Moving house doesn’t mean abandoning your old neighbors. After all, neighbors are often friends and most people who’ve lived in the same house for more than a year or so have benefitted from the kindness of the people next door. It might have been a cup of sugar, an hour of emergency babysitting when you needed it most, or knowing your cat would be fed and all the plants watered while you were on holiday- our neighbors often do small things that make life easier for us.
The first thing to do is tell neighbors about the move. If the first indication that you’re leaving is when long distance movers turn up outside your home they might feel a little insulted and disregarded, so go round there a week or two in advance. Take some flowers or a batch of muffins as a thankyou gift and stay for a cup of coffee.
Many neighbors will volunteer to help with storage & moving tasks when they hear you’re packing up. They might let you put some boxes in their garage while you clear out the attic or come over and help with the packing on a Saturday afternoon- another good reason to let them know about the move in advance.
Rather than packing up all the kitchen leftovers- flour, rice, cheese, and milk- and risking spoilage or spillage in long distance movers’ trucks, why not give all your perishables to the neighbors? No food will go to waste and it will save time.
If you keep a spare key for any of your neighbors’ homes, return it before you go and get any spare keys to your old home back. It will be up to the new residents to decide where spare keys should go.
When the big day comes, make sure the moving truck doesn’t inconvenience the neighbors. A large truck or trailer can cause all kinds of problems on a suburban or city street. If necessary, move your own car to provide a somewhere for the truck to park. Check that the neighbors can still get in and out of their driveways.
Be careful of their lawns and gardens too. Make it clear that no heavy furniture is to be placed on a neighbor’s garden and ask movers not to take short-cuts through other properties. If you’ve always been a good neighbor there is no reason to stop on moving day.
Before leaving, it’s always a good idea to pay one last visit to your favorite neighbors. Even if you’re excited about moving and want to hit the road, allowing five extra minutes to say goodbye properly will make sure there are no regrets later. Take a few snaps together and hand out your new address. That way you can stay in touch and your old neighbors might also help make sure any mail gets properly forwarded.
Once all your furniture and personal belongings have been installed in your new home it’s time to meet a whole new set of neighbors. Go around and knock on a few doors. Introduce yourselves and tell them you’ve just moved in. With a little luck, the new set of neighbors will become good friends over time.