Creating curb appeal for your home has the incredible effect of not only being satisfying to you, but also to all those who pass your home. It may even be an inspiration for neighbors to follow suit.
Adding curb appeal can be as simple as a fall yard cleanup to get rid of fallen leaves and downed branches, a fresh coat of paint on the front door to create a focal point, or some simple outdoor solar lighting to create a beautiful nightscape. It can also be as intricate as placing flower boxes under windows, adding shutters to the front facade, or installing a new paver walkway.
Regardless of the complexity of your curb appeal project, I would like to encourage you to enlist some friends and replicate it at a disadvantaged neighbor’s house. Think of the elderly. Or maybe you live near a disabled veteran. They take the same pride in their homes as you do, but may not have the ability to get around, which can make a seemingly simple outdoor home update or cleanup a major chore.
Grab some friends and get involved!
Giving back has so many intangible benefits. The hard part is getting started, but I promise you that once you do it is easy to keep it up. And making it social does two things: 1) it gets others involved and 2) it doesn’t make you feel like you are missing anything because your friends are right there with you. And if you have kids, this is a great way to teach them about selfless acts and giving back; start ’em young … my dad did.
Start with a yard cleanup or a gutter cleaning so you can get to know your neighbor better. This can be a once-a-season thing depending on where you live. As you build a relationship with your neighbor, talking about a more personal project and understanding what they like becomes more natural and easier.
One or two of these projects a year can take a lot of stress off of someone who can’t do it for themselves, but more importantly, it lets them know that someone cares about them and that they are a valued member of the community. And perhaps most important for yourself are the feelings you will have after a job well done. The satisfaction of doing for others when expecting nothing in return is unparalleled. Seeing the look of appreciation on an elderly couple’s faces, or that of a veteran who has sacrificed for us already … these are the things in life that truly matter, and if you can accomplish them with some friends by your side, then they will be stories that will live on, and hopefully perpetuate themselves.
Some tips for getting started:
- Make it social! This means bring your friends, but it also means social media. Set up a hashtag for your town or community that represents giving back to others–let’s use social media for good!
- Keep it simple. Start with a simple project. The feeling of accomplishment will encourage you to go back and do more. Biting off more than you can do in a day or weekend will leave you feeling discouraged, and a neighbor with a half-finished project.
- Keep it economical. Keeping the project budget-friendly does a couple of things: 1) it isn’t a huge burden on you and 2) it doesn’t make the person you are helping feel uncomfortable accepting your kindness. As you encourage more friends to help and build a rapport with your neighbor you will be able to do more elaborate and expensive projects. Chances are, these people have the money for the project and are happy to contribute–they just don’t know where to start.
- Stay close to home. Keeping it close to home makes it easy to get there, sure. But more importantly, you are doing good right in your immediate community, where you can see the very tangible results. Each time you drive past that person’s home it will make you smile.