Welcome to the Neighborhood!
A guide to welcoming new people into your community.
Moving to a new town or even a new state can be very daunting. Calling to turn on all of the utilities, figuring out when trash day is, getting your kids signed up for school, and even finding a reputable doctor and dentist can be quite the chore. Over the years, we’ve moved enough that. I’ve learned that color-coding boxes is a life-saver when it comes to staying even a little organized, but it’s still a lot when you’re trying to remember where all your kitchen gear is. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a welcoming committee who showed up with snacks and perhaps a notebook full of helpful tips and recommendations to make the process a little more smooth?
Seven years ago, we made the big move across the country to middle Tennessee knowing exactly two people and virtually nothing about our new city. Shortly after we began unpacking, our backdoor neighbors came knocking, bearing hugs and a loaf of pumpkin bread. It was a sweet gesture and perfect welcome home gift as we waded among the sea of unpacked boxes and crumpled newspaper. It wasn’t a big gift, but it really didn’t have to be to brighten our day and make our new city feel more like a modern Mayberry.
Creating a Welcome Basket
When I think about all the times I’ve moved, I think of all the things I had to do to get acclimated to my new community. What would have made that process easier, more welcoming, and even more fun? Then I thought, what if I created a welcome basket? Things like foods that take zero preparation. Maybe a cleaning supply I really like. Ooh, what about a list of important dates and upcoming events, and a small directory of awesome local stuff they should totally try? Now I’m getting ahead of myself. One thing at a time.
Think about it for a sec: you’ve just unloaded the moving truck and every room has a mountain of boxes. Where is your toaster? No idea, right? Let’s feed these new people.
- Stick with foods that take low-effort/no effort to prepare.
- A basket of homemade muffins and fresh fruit for breakfast No forks or plates necessary.
- You can never go wrong with cookies! Check out my super simple Drop Cookies Recipe!
- Gift cards to your favorite local restaurants. This allows you to share your favorite eateries and supports small businesses. Don’t forget a menu!
- If they’ve moved from out-of-state, collect a few local pre-packaged goodies made in your area. A jar of local honey is always a good one, especially for those allergies.
- A bottle of champagne or sparkling cider and some disposable cups to celebrate.
I don’t know about you, but I like to give everything a good scrub before I start unpacking bathroom supplies. It’s always an investment to buy all new cleaning products if you didn’t bring anything with you (or simply can’t find it.
- A product you swear by, a roll of paper towels, and a scrub daddy. Who doesn’t love a smiley gift?
- Handsoap and sanitizer
- Tip: if you happen to notice they’re from a different climate from you, sharing a helpful maintenance tip might be really appreciated. We moved from CA and didn’t realize just how humid Tennessee can get. I had to adjust my cleaning routine to combat new things like algae and mold.
A Small Directory
Usually when you move in, you can get through setting up utilities okay, but there are countless things to learn about a new town in order to acclimate. Here are a few things to help your new neighbor out!
- Local service providers–One thing I wish I’d had when moving in is a list of trustworthy companies I could count on if I had a plumbing or electrical issue. Great personal recommendations go a long way. Have a not-so-great experience? Be sure to include them too and save your neighbor a headache!
- plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, pest control, handyman, contractor, etc.
- Internet providers: who has the bestest fastest service? They all say they do. But who does really?
- Health/hygiene— This one may be a bit tricky with insurance, but it’s always great to get a solid recommendation from someone rather than just blindly trusting that one may be good.
- Dentists, optometrists
- Hair stylists, nail techs, estheticians
- List of important things to remember
- Trash day/recycle day schedule
- Annual season of events, farmers markets, hidden treasures
- List of local online communities to join (social media)
- Schedule of emergency equipment testing. I didn’t know we had tornado sirens, so when they tested them for the first time, I thought we were under attack, lol!
- Local inside jokes or other fun facts or quirks about your town.
- Your contact information
If nothing else…
Even if you do nothing else, stopping and saying hello with a quick introduction is typically always welcome. You don’t have to be lifelong friends, but it would be awesome if it happened that way!