Whether you move 20 miles or 2,000 miles getting acquainted with your new neighborhood and finding your sense of place within a community takes a bit of effort.

Exactly how do you meet the Joneses?  How do you and your family create a sense of “home” in your new community?  And, what activities or encounters are you looking for in your new neighborhood?

By the time you move, more than likely you’ve already talked with a Realtor, researched your neighborhood, if you have children, you’ve researched school districts, crime rates and some of the local attractions.

Moving to a new hometown is like any other new experience in life: you get out of it what you put into it. One of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of moving is the sense that we’ve lost control — over our surroundings, our daily patterns and our comfort zones. Our sense of familiarity is gone. You can help regain a sense of control over your new environment — and help your fellow family members do the same — by digging for as much information as possible before, during and immediately after your move.

The fact is that the sooner you begin to explore your new hometown, the sooner you’ll establish a comfort level in your surroundings, and the more positive your experience is going to be.

There’s plenty to be excited about when you move into a new house and a new town.  Here are a few tips to help get you on your way to making your new house and neighborhood feel like home.

Get to know your neighbors

To some people this is an important part of feeling connected to their new community and to others, they prefer their privacy.  As an established member of the community, you can always start with a simple wave or hello that can open the door of communication without being intrusive.

If you find an opportunity when they don’t look rushed or preoccupied strike up a conversation and introduce yourself without seeming like a nosy neighbor.

Knowing your neighbors provides a safer community, one where people are looking out for each other. Besides, you might just make some really strong, long-lasting friendships.

Host a housewarming party

If you are the more social type and really want to get to know your neighbors, than consider hosting a housewarming party.  You don’t have to be 100 percent unpacked, guests know that you’ve just moved and won’t be expecting you to host an elaborate get-together.  The key is to keep it simple.

And if that seems like too daunting of a task, throw a porch party!  Invite the neighbors, let them know all are welcome, set up a table on a front porch, lay out some punch and light appetizers, fire up some music, and let the neighbors serve themselves.

Get involved in your new community

There’s no better way to meet like-minded people than by participating in activities that are meaningful to you. Finding the right fit may just require a little digging. Check with local schools and universities, park districts, recreation commissions, sports organizations, and — perhaps the greatest reference of all — neighbors and fellow parents.

Parents have additional outlets for making new friends, like volunteering at  Donate your time to community organizations to get to know the neighborhood and improve it by cleaning up trash, helping other residents, or clearing park trails.

Use social media

Most of us are familiar with social media platforms that enable us to connect with people no matter where they live. But when you move to a new community, city or town, finding new friends locally is a little more challenging.  Use these online tools to find ways to connect locally.

Ask Facebook friends if they know anyone in your new town, or search sites like Meetup.com to find others with similar interests.

Become a local

Do as the locals do and frequent a local restaurant, farmers markets, or shop.

Hold a yard sale

You may have gone through a bit of a purge when you left your old home, but you never really know what you’re going to need (or want) to keep until you actually move in—a perfect excuse to hold a yard sale.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, when you need items, you can also attend yard sales and this is not only a great way to meet your neighbors, but also a great way to familiarize yourself with your new neighborhood.