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Welcome home: Housewarming gifts that are good for the earth

Homebuying season is upon us, with many moving into their new houses this summer. There is no better way to help someone make a house a home than by picking up or creating a thoughtful, useful gift for them as they settle into their new abode.

If you have a housewarming party to attend, or just want to do something nice for a new neighbor, friend or family member who recently bought a home, you might be wondering what to get. No matter what you opt to buy, remember that the thought behind the gift goes a long way.

Consider what the recipient would make the best use of or enjoy the most in their new place. Think of their hobbies or an item you know they were in need of in their last place. If you need a little inspiration, here are a handful of ideas to get you started: 

Flowers with a personal touch

Make a special bouquet with the homeowner in mind. Miss Effie's “u-pick” flower farm in Scott County is a great way to support a local business while taking a hands-on approach. Or, head to your favorite flower shop with a vase you snagged at a yard sale or thrift store that matches the recipient's taste.

Miss Effie's — at 27387 130th Ave., Donahue, Iowa — is open for the flower-picking season, and a bucket of flowers is only $20 at Miss Effie’s. Although flowers are often a go-to gift and might seem a little cliche, flowers with a personal touch are a welcome, beautiful gift that help give a new house a homey vibe.

What's cookin'?

If the new homeowner enjoys cooking, consider picking up your favorite cookbook to share with them. Or, pick a cookbook that offers recipes for their favorite type of food, or something you know they have been wanting to cook more of.

If the person doesn’t enjoy cooking, a cookbook featuring beginner or easy recipes might still be useful and a good fit, such as a book about healthy, easy-to-prepare lunches. To add an extra special touch, wrap it in a kitchen towel, and a serving utensil, such as a hand-carved spoon, can serve as a bow.

A gift for the guest bathroom

Locally created, handmade soaps are beautiful gifts on their own. To make them extra special, you could tie them up with a ribbon or pair them with a soap dish. Area pottery and handmade shops can be a great place to find a small plate that would work well, and that way, you are supporting two local artisans. Try Crafted QC, 217 E. 2nd St., Davenport; or Dot's Pots, 2822 16th St., Moline, to name a couple.

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For soaps, visit area farmers markets, including the market at the Freight House, 421 W. River Drive, Davenport.

Look for soaps in scents you know the homeowners like, and know that there are many types of soap out there. If you have a friend with sensitive skin or a friend who is vegan, you will still be able to find several bars that will work for them.

For an added touch, wrap the soap in a tea towel. Find some at Miss Effie's.

Conscientious cleaning supplies

Unfortunately, with a house comes housework! Help make it easier for the homeowner by purchasing them a basket of natural cleaning supplies. Rock Island-based Whoa Nelli Natural Products offers them for $25, which includes an all-purpose spray cleaner, a canister of powder cleanser, a jar of sink and tub cleaner, and a reusable microfiber towel. Visit the company's website at whoanelli.com.

If you want to take a DIY approach, you also could fill a basket with your favorite handmade cleaners.  

Help for the handyman (or woman!)

A gift certificate to Habitat ReStore is a thoughtful gift for an HGTV-obsessed loved one planning to tackle home projects or purchase furniture. Habitat ReStore offers new and gently used doors, windows, lighting, flooring, furniture and appliances that were donated to the shop, at 3629 Mississippi Ave., Davenport.

Gift certificates also would be useful for someone who likes taking on Pinterest projects. The ReStore diverts these materials from landfills, and by shopping at the ReStore, you support the work of Habitat for Humanity.

Lindsay Hocker is an occasional Radish contributor. 

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