If you’re a homeowner, you may have spent months, even years investing in and improving the look and feel of your house. You’ve turned it into your personal oasis. It has all the amenities you need and want, and all the renovations you’ve made perfectly reflect your personal taste.

Creating the home you want doesn’t just end at your property’s boundaries. Take a look at your neighborhood. Could it use a little sprucing up? Do you think you can make a positive impact on the appearance and safety of your streets, sidewalks, playgrounds, and other public spaces? If you think you can make your neighborhood a better place to live, here are 10 ways you can take action immediately.

1. Pick up litter near your home

A little cleaning goes a long way. If trash was thrown on the sidewalk that runs by your home, take a few seconds to put it in the garbage. If everyone on your street did this, you would have a clean, trash-free street in no time!

2. Support local businesses

Supporting local business can help improve the local economy, keeping the neighborhood unique. Thriving small businesses in your area may help boost the desirability of living in that particular area. This may, in turn, increase the value of the properties around it – possibly yours. Supporting local entrepreneurs may also allow you to meet new people, keeping the neighborhood friendly and open to newcomers.

3. Volunteer

There may be more opportunities to volunteer in your neighborhood than you think, whether it’s at the local public library or in a community garden. All you need to do is ask! Volunteering, whether it’s cleaning up, helping out at an after-school program, or just keeping others company, can benefit the people around you in unseen ways and bring the community closer together.

4. Talk to and help your neighbors

Even if you prefer keeping to yourself, it’s important to connect with your neighbors – you never know when you may need their help, or if they’ll ever need yours. They can keep an eye on your house and alert you should there ever be some suspicious activity on your property. If you have an elderly neighbor, help them shovel snow in the wintertime. If you have kids, your neighbor may end up being the person you trust the most to keep them safe when you’re away.   

5. Donate

You don’t have to donate money to improve the quality of life in your neighborhood. If there is a local charity near you, try donating some gently used coats, clothes, and accessories – you never know who among the people around you is secretly struggling. It doesn’t matter who gets your previously owned items – just know that you’re helping them out in a huge way!

6. Help improve neighborhood safety

There are so many ways you can help increase neighborhood safety, both on your own and with the help of your neighbors. Less crime in your area means a better quality of life! Check out all the ways you can start keeping you, your family, and your neighbors safe.

7. Plant a tree

Trees and plants help improve air quality, which may lead to fresher, cleaner air in your neighborhood. Plus, they’re pleasant to look at, and provide shade in the summer months and can improve mental health. Get together with some neighbors and start planting: it’s a win-win situation!

8. Use your car less: bike, walk, or use public transportation

If you want to improve both your neighborhood and the environment at large, use your car as little as possible. If you can bike or walk to your destination, do so! If everyone made the same effort, there could be less congestion on the streets. Additionally, you’ll get more exercise, and that’s a good thing!

9. Set up an emergency preparedness network and establish an action plan

If you live in a high-risk area for natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, mudslides, hurricanes, and tornadoes (to name a few), communicate with your neighbors: how would you keep each other safe and alive in the event of an emergency? Make plans to check on each other or to help transport groups of people to a safe zone, when necessary. You may also want to have a way to communicate in case phone lines are down.

10. Promote literacy

One of the greatest advantages of having a home is that you can set up a small, free library on your property. No, it doesn’t mean inviting people into your home – all it takes is a single bookshelf. Homeowners can set up small “give one, take one” book exchanges in front of their houses that allow anyone to do just that: leave a finished book on the shelf while taking out a new one for free. This way, children in the area may have greater access to literature and knowledge. Who knows, you may help them get better scores on tests and do better in school!

These are only a few ways you can help improve your neighborhood, but any small, positive change can make a world of difference in the quality of life of your and your neighbors. Don’t underestimate the power of your actions!

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.