Julia and Kathryn have lived next to each other for the last nine years, and were pretty much inseparable because they enjoyed many of the same things, such as outlet shopping, spa days, and Zumba. Even their children had become close friends and had frequent sleepovers on weekends. So when Kathryn’s husband, Martin, got a lucrative promotion at his company’s new site eight hundred miles away, it was a difficult decision for the family to make the move along with him.

Over the last three months, Julia had been helping Kathryn with the many tasks that needed to be completed before the big move, including sorting their stuff and figuring out what they would bring and dispose of, looking for the right school for Kathryn’s children in their new city, and other important considerations. Now, with two weeks left before Kathryn leaves, Julia is putting together a farewell party along with their closest neighbors, family members, and friends.

Julia wanted to send off her best friend with a memorable and useful moving away gift, knowing it would be at least a few months before they see each other again. Of course, with e-mail, Skype, and text messaging, Julia knew they would stay in touch, but it would still not be the same as having her next door, and she wanted some great farewell gifts that would be very special for her friend.

Some suggestions that came up included:

A digital photo album/display. These inexpensive but very contemporary tablet-style digital photo albums are great not only for storing photo memories, but also for displaying pictures in various orders for different areas of the house. Also, they are prep13easy to update, so Julia and Kathryn could keep adding new memories.

Gift cards. Gift cards and certificates for national retail stores, shops, restaurants, and other establishments come in handy, are very useful, and are also not bulky or difficult to pack. Julia looked for some gift cheques for Kathryn’s favourite home décor outlets, as well as for a couple of restaurants that she knew Kathryn’s family enjoyed and had locations in the new area they were moving to.

Cleaning kit. Julia knew Kathryn too well to realize that her friend would immediately go into cleaning and settling-in mode the moment they got to their new home, so she wanted to make it less of a chore by packing a bucket with all-around household cleaners, solutions, and tools. Best of all, the bucket also doubled as a cleaning and rinsing tool.

Area rugs, welcome mats. Rugs and mats for the indoors add insulation and privacy, while also making the home feel a bit more cozy. Julia bought several area rugs that were not too big but enough to remind Kathryn of her and their moments together.

Gym/health club membership. Kathryn and Martin were fitness enthusiasts, so Julia also looked up some national and local gyms and fitness centres in their new area, getting a three-month membership (plus a month free trial) to get them started and acquainted with others in their area.

Anne had been getting glimpses of the new neighbours across the street for the last couple of days, watching as a moving truck hauled their possessions in, unpacked their stuff and settled in. So when she finally met them one afternoon after her jog around the neighbourhood, Lisa and Matt, the couple, invited her and her family over for their housewarming party, Anne had lots of ideas in mind.

She remembered the time when her and her husband, along with their two children, moved into this neighbourhood eight years ago, and how the warm welcome they got from their neighbours helped in the adjustment period. Anne knew she wanted to pay it forward and help the new neighbours feel right at home; besides, Lisa was right around her age and also enjoyed hot yoga and musicals, so Anne knew they would hit it off.

As the rest of the neighbourhood got wind of the housewarming party, many of them called up Anne to ask her for housewarming gift ideas because they knew she used to work with a home staging firm. So to keep things organized, Anne sent out an e-mail with a list of gift suggestions for the new neighbours:

A basket of household tools or paint supplies. No matter how ready for occupancy a home is, there are still things that need tweaks or repairs, and Anne knew the new neighbours would find a basket of repair tools handy, such as pliers, screwdrivers, and measuring tape. Paint supplies are also great for quick makeovers, and they can be stored until needed.prep13

New chopping board or food preparation set. Many homeowners choose to leave behind or dispose of some of their kitchen stuff and cooking utensils, opting instead for new ones as they move into a new home. Anne included this in the list knowing that it would be a few less things for the neighbours to worry about.

Take-out menu organizer. One of the things that new residents always want to know is where the good restaurants are around town, and how to contact them for take-out or delivery service. A good take-out menu organizer includes menus from various restaurants and establishments from a wide variety of cuisines, and their contact numbers as well as directions.

Creative lighting gifts. Mood lighting, salt lamps, lava lamps, and other chic lighting fixtures are popular these days, and are not very expensive either. Anne made sure to let everyone know to stay away from excessively large lighting gifts, however, as the new neighbours are just barely getting settled in and too much clutter would be burdensome. Also included: scented candles, candleholders, and lamp sticks.

Bathroom essentials. When people move, they usually purchase new towels, mats, and other bath essentials as well. Anne suggested towel racks, hand soap dispensers, and bottle organizers for the new neighbours. Lotion and perfume sets are also great housewarming gift suggestions.