Last updated on July 20, 2020
These tips will help you find your place within your community — and make it feel even more like home.
After the hard work of finding and moving into the perfect home, you’re finally ready for the best part: exploring your new neighbourhood and city! Here’s what you should do in your first week, month, and year in a new place to help make it your home sweet home.
The first week: Organize and settle in
1. Get your bills in order.
You probably had the essentials switched over to your name so you wouldn’t be without them on move-in day. But you’ll need to make appointments for other services, like cable or home security, right after you move in.
2. Find your local resources.
No matter how organized you are, there will be items, like extension cords and towel rods that you will need to pick up quickly to make sure that you feel settled. Your first week is the best time to seek out these essentials and more. You’ll no doubt become well-acquainted with the nearby hardware store, but you’ll also want to stock that new fridge at the local grocery store, make friends with the barista at the neighbourhood coffee shop, and hit the closest post office to have your mail forwarded.
3. Meet the neighbours.
This will give you some comfort in knowing who is around you. Neighbours are a great resource for [discovering] where all the local hot spots are, where to go for necessary services and more. If you have children, this will also help them meet the neighbourhood kids their age and start making friends.”
4. Find your community online.
Next door and neighbourhood or community groups on Social Media are an easy way to start following what’s happening in your new neighbourhood. A subscription to the local city magazine can’t hurt either. This way, you can stay on top of community events, safety issues, and meet more neighbours! Want to untether from the laptop? Head to a nearby park or coffee shop and scope out the bulletin boards for upcoming events or local businesses to try.
5. Study the rules.
Before you jump into those home improvement projects, make sure they’re not against the rules of your society association or local zoning laws. If you live in a historic district, you may even have to get your paint colours approved! And be careful not to overlook those easy-to-forget loose ends. During your home-buying process, there are lots of deadlines and time frames to be aware of. After closing, you will also need to check on items like your property taxes, etc.
The first month: Explore and grow
1. Dine like a local.
Try different restaurants, supermarkets, coffee shops, and bars in the neighbourhood. You can choose your favourites and start to build a community.
2. Extend invites.
The sooner you make friends in a new city, the sooner it will start to feel like home. Whether you live in the city or in a more suburban area, don’t roll your eyes at these connections. Make the effort to get together with all of them — they will invite you to meet others and share their tips.
3. Follow your interests.
Local charities are always looking for volunteers and religious groups are always looking for new members. City recreation facilities often offer classes for kids and adults. This can also be a great way to meet other locals that have similar interests.
4. Pitch in.
Offering to assist a neighbour with a project can also be a great way to break into the neighbourhood. You can help in organizing group activities or cleaning the surroundings. The favour will likely be returned in the future!
The first year: Practice good citizenship
1. Take advantage of your city.
You chose your neighbourhood for its character, proximity to work, or its other perks. Now’s the time to explore other neighbourhoods nearby for hidden gems. Go to the theatre! Visit museums and concerts. Take advantage of your town’s amazing parks! Explore a different neighbourhood every month. Knowing your city better will help you feel more connected and give you, even more, favourite places to come back to again and again.
2. Start a group.
Make an effort to stay connected with your neighbours, even if you don’t click right away. In the first year in a neighbourhood, you will find that some of your neighbours and you will click and they will become friends. They’re a built-in source of information and support nearby. To stay in touch, launch a book club, dinner club, or another type of regular get-together on a schedule that works for everyone. It’s a low-pressure way to forge a deeper connection with those around you.
3. Host for a holiday.
Pick a holiday and plan an event in your home. Invite the neighbours or friends from unconnected groups. Think of it as your own mixer. Who knows? Maybe you’ll inspire some more friends to move to your neighbourhood — and make next year’s parties even better.
4. Attend society meetings.
Attend as many as possible so you’re aware of exactly what’s happening in your community regularly. If you have time, you might consider joining in a more official capacity, which lets you contribute to future plans and provides insights into neighbourhood changes.
5. Make goals for next year.
Reflect on your first year in your new neighbourhood and make goals for the next one. Would you like to get more involved, perhaps in a leadership role with your society? Have you noticed congestion or traffic issues that you could work with your neighbours to resolve? Maybe you’d like to support a local non-profit or school by organizing a 5K race through your neighbourhood. Or perhaps there’s a beautification effort you could launch. Whatever you choose, you’ll be on a path to deepen your involvement in your community.
What tips do you have for moving to a new city or neighbourhood? Share in the comments!