Spring signals the start of a busy home-buying season, especially in Vermont. Now that piles of snow and 4 p.m. sunsets aren't obscuring homes and yards, more sellers are putting up the "For sale" signs — and house hunters who have been waiting all winter for the right home to come on the market are jumping at the chance to buy.
So spring is also the season of housewarming gifts. According to the Burlington-based Emily Post Institute, a national authority on etiquette, these gifts "are usually small tokens, not major items: This is, after all, not a wedding." The institute suggests giving "something lasting for the house": guest towels, a houseplant, a cheeseboard, a picture frame, etc. We like a good houseplant as much as the next person, but we couldn't help thinking that moving day itself — always a struggle — calls for more practical gifts, and ones that may be far more appreciated.
Think about it: When you're moving, you're up at the crack of dawn to rent the U-Haul, pack it up, pick up the keys, and begin the days-long task of cleaning and unpacking. You're lifting couches, washing floors and — shoot! You didn't even think to bring toilet paper. And at the end of the day, when you're ready for dinner, you have to dig through all your boxes to find the spaghetti tongs.
Nest put together an easy, low-cost housewarming kit to help new homeowners survive — and thrive — on moving day. Whether you're gifting it to friends or family or taking note for your own upcoming move, everything here is designed to be immediately helpful while still useful in the long run. Now, get a move on!
A Practical Housewarming Kit
- Paper towels, a sponge and all-purpose cleaner, because half of moving in is cleaning up.
- Toilet paper and hand soap, because everybody always forgets it. Consider rolling up the TP in wrapping paper if gifting it feels tacky.
- An attractive basket, tote or box to pack everything into. Select something sturdy that can be used again — a basket makes a good magazine rack, while a lidded box doubles as closet storage.
- Pretty dish towels for drying hands and dusting.
- A bottle of bubby, because it's all too easy to forget to celebrate homeownership on that first day.
- A shower-curtain liner. There's nothing worse than getting ready to jump in the shower and realizing that, if you do, the bathroom will flood. Don't forget hooks!
- Lightweight or disposable plates and tableware, to get folks through until the proper dishware is uncovered.
- Scissors for opening up all those carefully duct-taped boxes.
- A coffee mug. When it's empty, you can put your iPhone in it and play music as you unpack. Voilà — a speaker!
- A bottle of aspirin to deal with the inevitable aches and pains of carrying around everything you own.
This housewarming kit is endlessly adaptable. The Emily Post Institute suggests giving new-to-town neighbors "area maps, the town paper, restaurant menus ... anything that will make it easier" to feel welcome and at home. We love that idea. Here are some others:
- Coupons for pizza delivery and other takeout
- Delivery of snacks or homemade food at mealtimes
- Instant coffee or tea bags
- Gift card to a home-improvement store
- Tape measure, hammer and screwdriver — or loaner of a full toolbox
- "Coupons" for babysitting during the busy settling-in period
- Loaner air mattress or sleeping bag until all bedding is unpacked
- A basic first-aid kit