Hosting a casual neighbourhood “garage party” is a great way to establish relationships with the people who live around you. According to the Pew Research Group, only four out of ten people know who their neighbours are. While this is a US statistic, it is presumably similar in the typical Canadian neighbourhood.
“So what?” you might say. Well, here’s some food for thought:
* Neighbourhoods where residents know each other are less likely to become targets of property crime. This is because neighbours who know each other, even if they’ve only met or interacted once or twice, are more likely to look out for each other’s property and report suspicious activity in the area to police.
* A University of Missouri study suggests that knowing your neighbours is good for your health. The study found, among other things, that people who said that their neighbours could be trusted tended to report better health than less trusting souls. (Psychology Today- online. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/minding-the-body/201109/trust-your-neighbor-boost-your-health.) Additionally, a University of Minnesota study found that older adults who have had a stroke have a better survival rate if they have a “cohesive neighbourhood” as defined by neighbour interactions. The incidence of strokes did not differ but survival rate did. (Southwest Washington Zest. http://www.southwestwashingtonzest.com/2012/06/knowing-your-neighbors-can-save-your-life-9-ways-to-get-to-get-neighborly/.)
* Neighbours who are familiar with each other are more likely to offer assistance in an emergency, like Michael J. Daly, who opened his door in the middle of one snowy night to find his neighbour standing in the yard in her pajamas, kids in tow. Their carbon monoxide detector had gone off and the family needed immediate shelter and a phone. (CT Post. http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Michael-J-Daly-The-benefits-of-knowing-your-4283268.php.)
* Neighbours who know each other readily pitch in for all kinds of things, like collecting each other’s mail, feeding and caring for pets and mowing lawns when one is out of town.
* What home owner doesn’t need to borrow a hammer from time to time or need help moving something heavy? These are perfect instances for calling on neighbours for a hand, and neighbours who know each other will be more willing to assist.
Throwing a summertime garage party is a simple but effective way to facilitate the meeting of neighbours. Socializing in the garage is often seen as very casual and, therefore, less threatening for those who might be inclined to turn down a dinner party invitation. All you have to do is put out the word, throw some beer in the fridge, lift the garage door and the party’s in session.
Need to update your garage before you throw that neighbourhood mixer? Tailored Living has some excellent tips and suggestions for improving the space in your garage and making it, among other things, party-ready:
1) Personalize your garage with custom cabinetry. Tailored Living offers a variety of styles and finishes that will complement any and all tastes. Not only will your garage look fantastic, you’ll be a lot more organized.
2) Refresh the look of your garage floor. Tailored Living offers SwissTrax floor covering options as well as Premier NX floor coatings in a range of colors and designs to freshen up the look of your garage AND protect your foundation.
3) Remove dangerous materials. Before you invite guests in, make sure tools, sharp items and poisonous chemicals and fluids are put away, either on high shelves or in cabinets.
4) Provide a walkway or clear path in the garage. It’s hard to socialize when you have to step over boxes and bicycles. Move things off to the side or outside temporarily, hang them or put them on shelves or in cabinets.
Go door to door with invitations or simply put up flyers in common areas of your neighbourhood to let people know you’re having a garage party. There are few better ways to break the ice amongst neighbours and make your neighbourhood a better, healthier, safer place to live.