If you live in an apartment building, you know that neighborly etiquette is one of the most important traits one can possess. That is especially the case if you have people living directly beneath you, as excess noise can really mess with their quality of life.
Luckily, learning how to be a good upstairs neighbor is a piece of cake when you know the right tips and tricks. We’re here to reveal them all to you, so read on!
The Unique Role of an Upstairs Neighbor
You might be wondering — what exactly is it that makes upstairs neighbors so special? Well, the answer is pretty simple.
First off, people’s ceilings double down as their upstairs neighbors’ floors. As a result, the noise they make inside their apartment easily travels downstairs and reaches those living below.
In addition, anything they do inside their apartment can be heard through open windows. In essence, upstairs neighbors are like roommates — except you’re separated by a few (often not quite) sturdy walls.
As a result, being quiet and mindful of others is something that every upstairs neighbor has to master. We’ll list some advice on how to do it in the sections that follow.
1. Walk Softly
As downstairs neighbors, people can hear you walking around your own place quite clearly. That is especially the case if you wear shoes inside your apartment or have lively kids or pets that always run around.
This problem has a few rather simple solutions. For one, you could start walking around in just your socks, as your steps will then be a lot quieter. And if you must wear shoes, it’s a good idea to get a pair with soft soles, so they aren’t as loud.
Another great option is to buy a few fluffy rugs and strategically place them around your home. That way, they will absorb most of the noise and keep your neighbor’s apartment blessedly quiet.
What’s more, you can also get soundproofing mats and place them beneath the rugs. They’ll fortify the carpets and ensure you make as little noise as possible while walking around.
Lastly, it’s important to just be mindful of the way you walk. You might be stomping and making more noise than necessary simply because you aren’t thinking about how you’re affecting others. So, keep your downstairs neighbor in mind, and you’ll slowly learn to walk more quietly and make it a habit.
2. Come Up With a Reasonable Schedule
Have you ever been woken up by your neighbors doing all sorts of random tasks at odd times of the day or night? If so, you definitely know how annoying and disruptive it can be.
Therefore, it’s essential to leave all loud tasks for reasonable times. For instance, don’t vacuum your home or run your washing machine at 3 in the morning. Likewise, don’t use your blender to make a smoothie in the middle of the night.
The same goes for drilling or moving furniture around. Even if you feel a great urge to rearrange your whole home and change your life at 2 AM, be patient and go at it when you aren’t bothering half the building.
Instead, do these tasks during the day, when people are either away, or they at least aren’t sleeping. Anytime between 8 AM and 8 PM is fine, so you’ll have plenty of room to complete your to-do list, even if you have a full-time job.
3. Be Mindful of Your Kids and Pets
If you have smaller children or a dog, your neighbors will likely hear as they play and run around your apartment. In addition, they’ll hear barking and crying, especially if it happens at night when everything is quieter.
Now, you cannot (and should not) completely silence your kids and pets. However, setting some ground rules will help you stay on good terms with your neighbor.
For starters, you should train your dog and teach them to follow simple orders. Staying quiet is the most important one, and most dogs can be taught to listen after just a few months.
If you’re considering adding a new pet to the family, you might opt for quieter animals. Fish, lizards, hamsters, and others tend to be less noisy. We’ve compiled an article on this topic that you might find helpful.
On the other hand, kids are a bit more challenging to deal with. Of course, crying is to be expected if you’ve just had a baby, and most of your neighbors will understand that.
Still, you should do your best to soothe your baby as soon as you can at night. And if you have toddlers, you can already start teaching them to be quiet and play without making too much noise. And as time goes by, it will become easier and easier to get them to quiet down.
4. Resolve Any Plumbing Issues on Time
When you have leaks or other water and plumbing issues, your downstairs neighbors can suffer the consequences if you don’t react quickly. For example, a leak or flooding at your place can wreak havoc on their ceilings and walls. The same is true for leaky or damaged pipes.
So, if you notice any similar issues at your place, notify your landlord right away. Dealing with it as quickly as possible is the key to avoiding huge repair costs and making your neighbor’s life a living hell.
Another water-related tip is to avoid overflows in your bathroom and kitchen. In other words, don’t leave the water running for a long time without supervision. Also, make sure to child-proof everything so that your kid can’t accidentally cause a flood.
If you’re looking to further minimize potential disturbances, consider soundproofing your pipes. This can be achieved by wrapping them in MLV (Mass Loaded Vinyl) or using sound-deadening mats. For more detailed information, please refer to this article.
5. Be Careful on Your Balcony
Does your building have balconies? In that case, your neighbor’s is most likely directly below your own. Therefore, any dirt and debris you swipe down could easily fall on their balcony.
To avoid making their life more difficult, you should refrain from swiping or throwing down anything. So, whether it’s breadcrumbs or the ash from your cigarette, make sure to throw it in the trash and not over your balcony railing.
Also, when cleaning your balcony, try not to let any water or dirt fall down. Instead, be careful and dust and mop in the opposite direction. Picking it all up with a dustpan will take a bit longer, but you’ll be a great neighbor for doing it.
And in case something does tumble down on accident, make sure to apologize and say it won’t happen again. As simple as it is, saying a few nice words can solve most issues before they escalate.
6. Keep Your Music and TV Down
While you might think that your music or TV is not loud enough for your neighbor to hear, you’re most likely wrong. Namely, since your floor is their ceiling and your windows and balconies are close by, the sound can travel pretty easily.
So, it’s smart to keep your music/TV at a low volume or wear headphones while watching or listening. In case you like movies or TV shows, it’s also a good idea to turn on subtitles. That way, keeping everything at a lower volume won’t affect your experience as much.
If you want to turn your music up while cleaning or to have an impromptu dance party by yourself, at least close your windows to keep most of the sound inside. Also, do it at a reasonable time, i.e., during the day.
7. Communicate Proactively With Your Downstairs Neighbor
Last but not least, let’s discuss one of the most important aspects of being a good upstairs neighbor: proactive communication. This factor is important in all neighborly relations, but especially with those living below you.
By communication, we mean talking about pretty much everything. For example, if you plan to throw a party for your birthday or another important occasion, you should tell them. Even if you’re slightly louder than you should be, your neighbor will be more understanding if you clear it with them first.
Furthermore, you should discuss any issues you may have. Thus, if your neighbor comes to you and says that something you do bothers them, you should listen. What’s more, you should be nice and understanding, especially if they act the same towards you.
Of course, this communication should go both ways. That is to say; you should also be able to express anything that’s bothering you and feel heard.
Through conversations like these, you and your neighbor can find some common ground and reach a compromise. Even more importantly, you can establish some household rules and agree to follow them. By doing so, you can improve your quality of life and make your building a better place.
One last piece of advice we’ll give you is to be kind and humble but never let someone walk all over you. In other words, if you’re doing your best to be quiet and cordial and your neighbor is annoying you in turn, don’t fold easily.
Stand up for yourself instead, and demand the same amount of respect you’re giving. And if the problem is impossible to solve without intervention, call up your landlord and have them run interference.
To Sum Up
Being an upstairs neighbor comes with a lot of power and responsibility. For example, the noise from your everyday activities can easily carry downstairs and disrupt your neighbor’s peace and quiet.
That’s why it’s important to learn a few tricks for being a good and reliable upstairs neighbor. Some of them include walking more softly, performing louder tasks during the day, and ensuring your kids and pets are as quiet as possible.
Another important skill to master is proactive neighborly communication. After all, every problem can be solved if you and your neighbor sit down and talk about it. So, do your best to compromise, and your building will become an oasis of peace (or as close as a shared living space can get to it) in no time.
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