Wednesday, January 27, 2010


How can I nicely ask the upstairs neighbors to walk a little more lightly? One of the new neighbors has an incredibly heavy step that makes the whole house shake (and makes the cat and I stare up at the ceiling in fear, and awakens us in the middle of the night). We're not all that fond of the new stereo, either.

I tried asking the landlord for their phone number; that didn't go over so well.

Bo suggested going up and introducing myself and gently weaving it into the conversation. So last week I went up with a plateful of warm cookies when the louder neighbor got home, in order to open the door to conversation. I knocked twice. Hard. But she never came to the door. (NOTE: In her place, I probably would have done the same).

I don't want to resort to banging on the ceiling. That didn't work very well the last time around.

Any advice (humorous or reality-based) would be greatly appreciated.

I don't want to have to move again.

Not for awhile anyway.


  1. hi C.K.
    i had similar problems in other places in the past. i find that you have to use earplugs when sleeping, and a fan to create some white noise. the noise bothering you is probably when you're still awake and puttering around.

    i researched materials that you can put on walls to deafen the sound. if you own the place, then you can do something about it. the problem is how to make it aesthetic. the easiest thing is to line the side walls so that they absorve the noise when it travels thru the floor. but if you have to line the ceiling, maybe you can make pretty hangings with bright Indian cloths, kind of making a tent. if you can stop the waves of motion and noise with them, they won't get to you. or you could staple some sound boards to the ceiling and cover them in Indian fabrics. that should deaden the sound transmition.

    you can ask the neighbor to place a noise deafening material under the their rug.

    if the neighbor plays music really inconsiderately, i don't know what to tell you, other than get some pots and pans and a spoon and start banging outside their door until they get the message. or, play some Celia Cruz salsa at the top of the heighest noise for at least one song. dance to it while you're at it. then smile the next time you see them. i'm not sure this paragraph is too yogic, but these things rile me a lot and even the nicest yogi can sometimes be really distraught.


  2. i second the earplug idea.
    moving, as you have learned, dosen't mean you will be happy, warm, or in peace.




  4. These suggestions are awesome.... although I'm like Boodiba; earplugs fall out / don't work.

    Maybe a p/a note, attached to some flowers and tied to the doorknob, would do the trick.

    The goals are to

    1. not suffer needlessly

    2. not start a war

  5. Send good vibes. LOTS of good vibes.

    If you ever see them, weave it into conversation. I really like the flowers idea.

  6. Anonymous6:37 PM

    Just slip a note under the door explaining the problem, and perhaps offering to pay for half the cost of a thick rug. Worked for me.

  7. I think Arturo is right to make suggestions for what you can do. Consciousness comes only when one is ready and it may be that your neighbors are not ready for the message.

    I know at age 23 I was not ready to hear my downstairs neighbor say to me, "Boom Boom boom back and forth!" I thought it was a joke.

    However, I do think frankness is very valuable in neighbors. And you leaving a friendly note that is not confrontational could be useful.

    Thinking peaceful thoughts for you,


  8. Very difficult situation. In my opinion the only way is to understand and to accept.

    Perhpas you can catch her and mention it. Sometimes people don't know that they are so loud. I'd try this, too.

    Life changes, so might this noise thing change. I hope so for you very much....:)

  9. Rex Feral2:42 PM

    Kill them or move.

  10. I have industrial grade ear plugs that won't fall out and you won't hear a thing. Remind me next time you are out in the sticks and I'll give you some.

  11. just say no to being p/a
    try a note or card explaining the situation.
    that being said...
    i once had a young man blast his stereo at 3am every weekend. i approached him as nicely as i could. his answer?.." if you don't like it, don't live in an apartment"

  12. Kara,

    The last time I spoke to neighbors about their stereo I was told almost the same thing - "If you want quiet, go live on a farm."

    It's enough to make you want to.... live on a farm. Or at least a stand-alone house.