Melissa Dubravetz, advertising writer

Today is National Good Neighbor Day, an officially dedicated time for neighbors to recognize and appreciate each other. The initial push for a National Good Neighbor Day was started in the early 1970s when a woman from Montana recognized the importance of good neighbors and began her efforts to make it a national day. After the proclamations of a few presidents, the U.S. Senate eventually passed a resolution in 2003 making Sept. 28 the official National Good Neighbors Day.

The concept of National Good Neighbor Day is an important one for renters, even if you choose not to acknowledge or celebrate the day. As a renter, you sometimes need to be more sensitive to your surroundings including your neighbors than if you lived in a single-family home. Not only do you live in closer proximity to them, but you also have to share spaces you wouldnt as a homeowner, including laundry rooms, stairwells, hallways, entry doors, parking lots, fitness facilities, swimming pools and other common areas.

Being a good neighbor requires more than minding your manners, sending over the occasional plate of freshly baked cookies or lending a cup of sugar. Being a good neighbor takes patience, effort and thinking on your part. Read on for some ideas and ways you cannot only be a good neighbor to your fellow apartment dwellers, but also a better one:

Be nice

Smile at your neighbors and say hello when passing them in the hallway or stairwell.

Hold the door open for them if you notice they have their hands full.

If you know a neighbor lives alone and could use some help from time to time, offer your assistance with groceries, mail or other chores they might not be able to do easily.

Introduce yourself to your neighbors when you or they first move in.

Be quiet

Try to keep your volume at a lower level when entering and exiting your apartment building.

Avoid slamming doors and stomping up the stairs, both in common areas and within your unit.

Keep music and your television at a volume level that isnt disruptive to your neighbors.

When having guests over, watch your noise levels and the time. Be sure your guests know where to park when visiting so they dont take another tenants parking space.

Be mindful

If you know your neighbor has a young baby, avoid blaring loud music or running your vacuum cleaner at odd hours.

If you are a pet owner, make sure you are aware of your pets behavior while you are away from home. If you have a dog that barks a lot, try some training techniques for keeping your pet comfortable and quiet, or use a doggie day care service.

If your apartment has a shared laundry room, be mindful of laundry etiquette. Never stop someone elses laundry mid-cycle. Never put someone elses clothes in the dryer. Remember to switch your laundry from washer to dryer as quickly as possible.

Clean up after yourself in the common areas of your building. Dont leave your garbage in the hall or outside your front door for extended periods of time. Tidy up after using the community pool or fitness facility.

Know your apartment complex rules on smoking, both inside and outside of your unit.

Let me know what you think. What are your suggestions when it comes to neighbors and renting? I welcome your suggestions on making a decision, tales from your personal experiences or anything else you want to talk about. Send e-mail with your name and phone number to renters@thebeaconjournal.com. For additional real estate information, visit homes.ohio.com, the key to hassle-free home hunting.