9 Tips For Being a Good Dorm or Apartment Neighbor
When you're living in a dorm or an apartment, you essentially share space with the rest of your floor, which means there are different rules you have to live by. You don't have the luxury of having your own four walls, yard, or distance between you and another home, so whether you like it or not, it's important to be considerate of the ways your lifestyle might affect your neighbors. You want to be friendly, approachable, and thoughtful — just like how you would want your neighbors to be.
As someone who has lived in my fair share of cramped college dorms and tiny city apartments, I've learned a thing or two about being a good neighbor. I've also learned — via bad behavior on the part of my own neighbors — what simply makes life miserable for other people in your building. And if you're in college, making your living arrangements fun is essential for making new friends and creating a relaxed home base. Here are nine things to keep in mind when sharing a floor with others.
Keep It Down After 9
This rule applies mostly to weeknights. It doesn't matter if everyone on your floor is up late — after 9 p.m., you should try and keep the noise down. This means no crazy parties, no blasting music, and no hammering or tackling noisy DIY projects. You just never know when someone might have to be up early to catch a flight, go to a job interview, or be at an early class.
One of the best apartments I've ever lived in had an outdoor porch in front of every apartment. The reason it was such a great place to live? All the neighbors would regularly hang out on their porches, which meant that we actually got to know each other! So don't be shy. When you move in, feel free to introduce yourself to your neighbors (and maybe even invite them over for a drink).
Don’t Hog Common Areas
Whether it's the laundry room, the common lounge area, or the lobby, don't take up every inch of available space. If you're hanging out somewhere in the building outside of your apartment, be considerate of the fact that someone else might want to hang out there too.
Don’t Let Your Laundry Sit
Nothing is more frustrating than when someone leaves their laundry in the machine for hours on end, making it so that no one else can do their laundry. The best laundry hack of all time? Be a good neighbor and know what time your cycle will be done and remove your laundry ASAP.
Take Care of Any Belongings in Common Areas
If you do share a common backyard or entertainment space with your neighbors, they probably have no problem with you putting a grill, patio furniture, a floor mat, or other items for everyone to use in the space (always give everyone a heads up first). But if you do decide to do this, take good care of your items. Using a grill that you don't clean afterwards, for example, will stop others from being able to use and enjoy it.
Keep Your Doorway Neat
While most people have a doormat, a pair or two of shoes, and maybe a coat rack outside of their apartment, that should be the limit. Keep your doorway looking nice and neat so that when your neighbors have visitors, they're able to easily navigate the hallway and find their own apartment door without tripping over your things.
Be a Good Pet Owner
If you have a dog or cat, be sure you're cleaning up after them. Pick up your dog's poop and make sure your cat is properly using the litter box. Enough said.
Want to Have a Party? Ask!
There's nothing wrong with wanting to have a party every once in a while, but if you do decide to host, make sure to ask your neighbors if they're OK with it. As mentioned before, you never know when someone has an important event going on the next day. If they do say yes, bonus tips for inviting them to join!
Don’t Be Unreasonable With Your Own Demands
Finally, while it's important to do everything on this list, it's also important to know that you can't impose your own unreasonable demands on neighbors either. After all, they live there too! So if you do hear someone's music and it's only 6 p.m., perhaps wait until 9 p.m. to ask them to turn it down.