Here’s a radical idea. Instead of buying a bottle of wine as a housewarming gift, or some dumb tchotchke you grabbed in desperation... What your newly-nesting friends would appreciate so much more (especially in those first few weeks, when they’re surrounded by boxes) are elevated versions of the basic cleaning tools and supplies that were likely left behind when they moved. Think unfussy, functional gifts that feel good to use and aren’t hideous to look at. These are the housewarming gift ideas that will make them happy—and get you invited back, again and again.
With a simple pine handle and all natural “broom corn” (i.e. bristles), the shaker broom from Haydenville Broomworks sweeps like a dream, and it’s actually pretty! Propped in a corner or hung on a peg, this tool will be Instagram-ready at all times.
To buy: $40, haydenvillebroomworks.com.
Grapefruit Dish Soap
Who says doing the dishes has to be unpleasant? Okay, me. I do. However, it will be much less so with a bottle of crisp grapefruit-scented dish soap.
To buy: $13, williams-sonoma.com.
A pack of these all-natural cellulose sponges will last a year (or more). They’re not ugly, they won’t get stinky like synthetic sponges, and they take up very little space under the sink.
To buy: 12 for $14, williams-sonoma.com.
Striped Dish Towels
You can’t go wrong with a classic set of striped dish towels. It’s the gift that says, “Throw out your grubby rags and start fresh!”
To buy: 4 for $10, williams-sonoma.com.
These cheerful copper scrubbing cloths remove gunked-on food without leaving scratches.
To buy: 2 for $10, surlatable.com.
Wooden Bottle Brush
This brush is a war horse for washing bottles, glasses, coffee pots, vases, etc. Made of durable beechwood and natural horsehair, it’s long-lasting and quite nice to look at—and when it has outlived its usefulness it won’t clog up the landfill.
To buy: $10, surlatable.com.
The Sansevieria Laurentii, aka “snake plant” or "mother-in-law’s tongue," is incredibly resilient, tolerating both low light and irregular watering. It also purifies the air. But be warned: It's toxic to cats and dogs, so if your pals have pets, stick with one of these pet-safe house plants.
To buy: $29, homedepot.com.
Terra Cotta Pot
Extra points if you pop the snake plant in an earthy terra cotta pot.
To buy: $14, homedepot.com.
Whimsical Toilet Brush
This might be the best of our best housewarming gifts list. Everyone needs a new toilet brush when they move, they just do. But nobody thinks to buy one until it’s too late. You’ll be the hero if you swoop in with this adorable Italian-designed version. Hey, bring a few spare rolls of toilet paper too! Why not?
To buy: $60, alessi.com.
Simplehuman Trash Can
If you’re feeling splurgy, get your bestie the Cadillac of kitchen trash cans. This steely beauty by simplehuman is pretty much the highest rated trash can in existence. Simple, functional, and once again not terrible to look at. Mission accomplished.
To buy: $180, bedbathandbeyond.com.