Arts and Culture

Appropriate Housewarming Gifts For (and From) Broke People

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The last thing they want is more boxes, that's for sure.

So you’ve got a friend (or friends) moving in to a new place, and in another one of those attempts to feel like a responsible grown up human being who people actually like outside of Happy Hour settings, you’ve decided that you should give some gift to your friend (or friends) to commemorate the occasion of them trying to packing their whole life into empty boxes from the liquor store before selling half their crap on craigslist. But not all housewarming occasions were created equal and a lot of the nick-nacks people end up with they don’t even want (and end up selling on craigslist) anyway. So to save yourself some embarrassment, here are some suggested gift items for (almost) every situation.

Your guy friend finally gets an apartment by himself: 12 pack of mid-grade beer. Moving out of that 5-bedroom apartment with the giant flatscreen and 3 sets of Rock Band instruments is probably going to be pretty hard on your friend. Help him ease the pain by offering to come over and drink half a case of beer while he attempts to put away all the books he never read but keeps on his shelf so girls will think he’s deep and intellectual. Spring for mid-grade or better beer because, hey this is a special occasion. You’ll probably have a halfway decent buzz before your friend can even decide whether to organize those books alphabetically or by genre and he’ll eventually give up so you can go find out what the good dive bar in the neighborhood is. [A word of warning to the ladies: be careful about visiting his new bachelor pad too early, lest he get cocky and think his one bedroom junior is a real pantydropper.]

Your lady friend finally gets an apartment by herself: 6 Month Netflix Subscription. You’re friend is probably going to be experiencing some Sex & the City DVD withdrawal now that she doesn’t live with Sally Sorority, but it’s for the better anyway because: A) grow up, those dreams of being a Charlotte are actually kind of sad [spoiler alert: she had to adopt!] and B) she probably doesn’t want a rack of DVDs taking up precious shoe storage space. Plus girls are really bad about hooking up electronic equipment so she’ll probably just end up watching DVDs on her laptop in bed. [A word of warning to the guys: don’t come over for one-on-one “movie night” too soon, lest she assume you want to move in with her.]

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Your friend with a real job buys a house/apartment/loft/warehouse/island: Something handmade and crafty and/or food item. Most people don’t discuss finances with their friends, but if someone buys a house it’s probably safe to assume they’re doing pretty well for themselves. In this case, no household item you can afford from Target will compare to what they would probably buy for themselves, so don’t even try to compete there. Instead, get crafty and make something personal. Like a picture frame made out of popsicle sticks and seashells or something. Alternatively, just bring them a burrito because all their shit is in boxes in the living room and they’re probably too exhausted from moving to dig out the cookware.

Your friend who just got evicted/kicked out by their significant other/just moved to town and still hasn’t found an apartment yet: Quality couch time shower privileges. Depending on how much you like this person, how much you pity their situation, how big your living room is, and whether or not you owe them a favor – give them anywhere from 3 days to 4 weeks on the futon. Expect them to repay you in an amount of alcohol appropriate to their length of stay. Give them shit if they start using too much of your shampoo or eating your peanut butter out of the jar.

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Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew Dalton - Aggressive Panhandler

Andrew is an East Coast transplant from Virginia hamming it up in San Francisco without any intention of leaving. Having worked every typical job from Bike Shop Employee to Bartender to Ad Agency Hotshot, to Dotcom Layoff he now busts his ass covering the "weird things to do" beat for gracious local audiences at and rallies the Western Addy/Lower Haight/Panhandle neighborhoods into action at His work was published in a real, paper magazine one time. One day he might even figure out how to make money from it.