It happens with alarming regularity and always out of the blue—your friend moves into a new house, apartment, or extended-stay motel and you receive the dreaded housewarming invitation. What on earth do you get for the guy who hoards everything?
You suspect his monthly moves have something to do with that nice photo of him hanging on the wall at the post office, or maybe it’s just his way of getting new stuff whenever his household items break down, but whatever the reason, you’re going to have to think outside the moving box for some thoughtful housewarming gift ideas.
Brown Cardboard Boxes
Your first instinct may be to simply wrap up your unused juicer (damn you, As Seen On TV store!!), but the law of the universe states that the day after you give away something, you will need it. Besides, if, like many people, your friend’s house is filled to the brim with items such as a treadmill (and its free accompanying gift, the Ab Rocket), a bread maker, Crocs in every available color, the one-click stick butter cutter, a closet full of linen suits, a unicycle, and several copies of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, then the perfect gift might be a stack of brown cardboard boxes. Well, they don’t even have to be brown. Glue colored construction paper to them! The point is, the best presents are both beautiful and useful. Or at least useful. And if this dude has been on the move more frequently than Dr. Richard Kimble, then you’re doing him a favor by helping him downsize.
IKEA Replacement Parts
Speaking of useful, nothing is more pragmatic than giving a good buddy a box of spare IKEA Allen wrenches. We all think we have Ziploc baggies full of these Z-shaped miracle tools, but when we need to tighten the screws on the bed posts (no, that’s not a euphemism; okay, yes it is), suddenly these little guys are no where to be found. They, along with all the bolts, brackets and pegs, always seem to mysteriously disappear into the Bermuda Triangle of kitchen drawers.
You don’t have to be a bona fide hoarder to have more material goods than all the Third World countries combined. Between a society that encourages spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need to fill a house you can’t afford and a psychological block about letting go of anything, chances are your pal would be better off with Letting Go: The Dao of Decluttering than a collection of Star Wars action figures (even if it includes the rare Vinyl Cape Jawa). A gift certificate to The Container Store might be a good idea—so long as your friend isn’t addicted to addiction-relieving gadgets.
Okay, so maybe a more accurate title for this post would be “Housewarming Gift Ideas For People You Don’t Really Like,” but still, I think you’ll find that if you imbibe just the right amount of Peach Schnapps you’ll be able to come up with plenty of thoughtful housewarming gift ideas for that friend who seems to move all the time. And if not, perhaps a hastily-written address on the picture in the post office is in order….
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