Clutter-Free Gifts for the Grad

Recent graduates don’t have a lot of stuff (yet), but that’s no reason to give them things that add to the #clutter unnecessarily. Instead of a single-purpose kitchen appliance or inspirational plaque to hang on the wall, give the grad a subscription to Blue Apron or a local farm co-op to help them eat right and hone their cooking skills. A Fitbit will help them track healthy exercise habits, Business Insider says, while an e-reader will furnish lifelong learning without the burden of books. Similarly, digital subscriptions and gift cards to services such as Netflix and Lyft will be appreciated without taking up a lot of space.

His & Hers Graduation Gifts

“You can do better than just shake their hand and sliding them a crisp $20 bill” when giving a #graduation gift, says The Today Show. Shopping for for a male high-school graduate? Try giving a quality pillow, a watch, a pair of shower sandals or a portable turntable (yes, for vinyl records). For the female grad headed off to school, the show suggests a phone case, robe, sleep mask or electric toothbrush. For the new college grad, a backpack or briefcase, noise-canceling headphones, a cookbook, coffeemaker or passport case might be the thing they didn’t already know they needed for the years ahead.

Giving Grads Something Other Than Cash

Money always makes a good #graduation gift, especially if the #graduate in question is going away to school. But if you’re in the mood to offer the new graduate a practical, wrappable gift, Real Simple suggests giving them an instant camera or day planner to document the many moments of their new adult life. Electronics such as Bluetooth trackers and portable chargers will keep their phone available and ready to place calls and texts home when they need more money. Storage bins are an essential dorm room accessory, and a kit of simple household tools will be treasured at unforeseen moments.

Creative Ideas for a Graduation Party

If you plan on hosting a #graduation party this year, get creative! Try filling a piñata with assorted fun-sized treats and rolled-up dollar-bill “diplomas,” says Fun Squared, or bake up a batch of “smart cookies.” Good gifts include a do-it-yourself laundry starter kit for college (laundry bag, detergent and quarters), or a new wallet with a gift card inside. Make a cash bouquet or garland to help get the grad off on the right foot, or fold bills into mini tassel caps. Anything that helps ease the graduate into adult life (and helps avoid crippling debt) will be appreciated.

Congratulations, Graduates

Now that those Memorial Day cookouts are safely under their belts, many parents are already planning another seasonal celebration: the graduation party. It’s a final rite of passage among the many that high school offers, and a great chance to celebrate one’s child’s accomplishment.

Graduation parties tend to take the form of open houses, and many families schedule them on weekend days. Collaborate with your graduate on the guest list, and consider dedicating specific hours of the afternoon to family and friends, since, as the Huffington Post points out, they will likely enjoy different kinds of activities.

Party and craft stores will have plenty of ready-made decorations available; you may wish to go with a simple graduation year theme or emphasize school spirit based on the high school attended or the college that awaits. If you want to go beyond the typical themes, HGTV offers plenty of ways to put one’s own creative spin on the event.

Remember that thrift stores can be a valuable resource in preparing for a graduation party. They often stock lots of lightly used apparel from area schools, as well as extra party gear that people just didn’t get the chance to use. And since many thrifts are supplied by donations to, buying from them helps fund valuable veterans’ programs.

For a good graduation nosh, pick items that can sit on a buffet table for a few hours; with an open house, they should be ready whenever the guests drop in. And don’t forget the congratulatory sheet cake! It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it’s almost as much of an expectation as a wedding cake is at a wedding.

If your graduate is going off to college, this is an excellent time to prepare them (and your home) for the next stages in life. After the party is over and the graduation gifts are opened, sit your teen down and discuss an action plan to organize their space for that time in the not-too-distant future when they no longer use it on a day-to-day basis.

They have just 10 to 12 weeks to declutter that space and pick out what they want to keep and/or take with them as they move into campus life, adulthood and ultimately, their own homes. Donate whatever doesn’t make the cut by scheduling a pickup with, and you’ll be able to reclaim some square footage in your home.