Terrified of *BEING* a noisy neighbor, need advice pls

momof2girls_2006September 14, 2006

Hi, I am new here ~ I'm so glad to have found this forum. I am moving into an apartment in 3 weeks and I am very nervous about it because I do not want to be a noisy neighbor. I guess I am the opposite of the people who don't care~ I am really anxious about being as quiet as possible. My challenges are: I am moving into a 2nd floor apartment (only one available) and I have 2 small children as well as a big dog. I have been trying to teach my girls in advance the meaning of "Quiet Feet" and that there is no jumping, running, hopping, etc. allowed indoors~ only outside, and also how to use a 'quiet voice'. My dog is 5 years old and not wild or jumpy and is not a barker, so I think she'll be okay. The other big issue I worry about is I sing & play acoustic guitar. When I talked to the apt. manager I asked her about the insulation and if she thought this would be a problem. She said the apartments are 'sound insulated' between floors and also there is brick between units. She said they have several tenants who own pianos and never get any complaints so not to worry. But I AM worried because I don't want to be a bad neighbor. I have looked into different types of insulation I can buy to 'soundproof' my bedroom, and even thought of buying carpet tiles to lay on top of the existing carpet, to help block the sound from traveling. Of course I would be considerate and not play in the morning or evening. I even asked the store people where I take lessons for advice and they kind of laughed at me, like I'm being too paranoid, and said not to worry since it's only acoustic~ they thought electric guitars would be an issue, but not acoustic. My last issue is I own a treadmill, but based on the posts I've read here it sounds like that is a bad idea all around so I think I'm going to sell it at Play It Again Sports and take up walking outside.

I plan on introducing myself to the downstairs neighbor and asking her to please let me know if we ever are disturbing her~ I want to be a good neighbor and would really be upset if I caused any irritation to anyone living around me. Do you have any other suggestions what I can try to keep noise to a minimum? I think I'll be afraid to breathe once I'm in there!! (PS I realize a house would be better for my situation but unfortunately I can only afford an apartment right now). Thanks for any help.

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I think that introducing yourself to the neighbor is the way to go. And then check with her occasionally -- don't make the assumption that because she doesn't complain that everything is okay. Many people won't come to you and complain, but if you say, "Hey, are you hearing a lot of noise from our apartment?" she might feel okay letting you know if it is bothering her. With your kids, just be vigilant, and stick to the rules you've made, and you should be fine.

As for the guitar, I'd just play it by ear -- maybe you can have a friend play it for a few minutes while you stand outside to see how loud it is? I can't imagine an acoustic guitar being all that loud, personally. And so long as you're not doing it at 6 in the morning, or standing in front of an open window at 11pm while strumming away, I'm sure you'll be okay :) I wouldn't bother buying any acoustic tiles or other stuff unless and until you know that you are causing problems for your neighbors.

As far as the treadmill, why not trade it in for an stationary exercise bike? You can get just as much exercise out of it, and it doesn't make anywhere near the same noise. And you can watch TV while doing it, which is what I do ;)

I wish I had had neighbors like you back when I was living in apartments. You are a rarity.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 12:47AM
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but don't make yourself too subservient and groveling before it's necessary--you DO have the right to play your guitar and sing; your kids DO have the right to walk around their home and to occasionally forget to walk for a few steps.

Bcs your neighbor may also take advantage of you, or be really tough to establish some boundaries. Plus, you don't want to start mentally focusing on the noise from upstairs; she may start noticing (and minding) things that she would have simply not bothered to notice, before.

Just say, "Hi, I'm the new neighbor, nice to meet you; please feel free to let me know of any problems."

Then just live the way it's convenient for you. Don't assume there's trouble before it happens.

For example--you said you wouldn't play in the mornings--well, int he mornings, above ME, you *could.* I get up pretty early on the weekday, and even on the weekend, I seldom sleep past 9; if I do, it's because I'm tired, and if you can wake me up w/ your guitar, then I ought to get out of bed anyway.

And if you played in the LR, so as not to be over my bedroom, you could play acoustic guitar until 4am, bcs I wouldn't hear it. (I might hear it if I stayed up late int he LR, but I don't)

I check in w/ my downstairs neighbors now and then as well; I've got 2 kids, a piano, and not particularly thick floors. Here's what they said to me: "I never hear anything to object to" and "If I ever do hear anything, it doesn't last very long."

Both answers that indicate to me that, they hear us often. But that they don't object, bcs they understand that most of the time we're doing the best we can, and they believe an occasional awareness of your neighbors bcs of their living noise is just life.

Don't make yourself too paranoid. You need to be able to enjoy your life.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 9:38AM
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I moved into a second floor apartment with girls 4 and 9. I was (gasp) a newly single mother in a building of church going married families.

The girls knew how to be quiet and walk soft because all they ever knew was Daddy had to sleep when they were awake.

People are going to complain but unless they are valid complaints live your life and don't be afraid. And other than your kids walking quiet, let them be kids.

We lived in that apartment for 14 years. I can tell you years of stories about stupid complaints from one downstairs neighbor alone that started on move in day. We couldn't have been bad upstairs neighbors because they stayed 9 years and none of the following tenants ever complained.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 9:14PM
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Hey there. I don't have any advice, but I am in the same situation. I am moving into my first apartment Oct 4th, and I am scared of bothering others. I thought I was the only one who felt like that, but it is refreshing to know there are others who have morals. I was going to introduce myself to my neighbors and tell them that if I ever bothered them to let me know so that I can stop if possible. I am a single working college student so if I am home it will be to sleep. I will be on the bottom floor. I don't play music, but I do collect antique vacuums... I will be respectful at the hours I choose to use and work on them. I HATE when people are rude to me or disrepectful and I would cringe at the thought of putting someone else through that!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 7:40PM
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