With the high season of "Pomp and Circumstance" (is that horrid/catchy Vitamin C song still floating around, too?) just around the corner, you may find yourself reaching for your checkbook and handing over a monetary gift to the college graduate in your life. A few other popular college grad gift options aside from cash: monogrammed briefcases, fancy fountain pens, Dr. Seuess books, ties, and, for the uninspired, whatever catches your eye at the "Gift Card Center" near the self-checkout lane at Safeway.

My suggestion? Give 'em something that they'll actually need and use in their first post-college home be it a starter apartment in the city, a rental house in the 'burbs, or a renovated basement (in said grad's parents' basement). Below you'll find 13 home-centric gift ideas, all of which are designed/manufactured in the US and/or crafted from eco-friendly materials. Most all are utilitarian in nature — light bulbs and cast iron pans! — and if not, they look cool and probably won't be thrown into a box and shoved into the back of a closet. Need more ideas? Check out my grad gift suggestions from last year. 

And while we're on the topic of college graduation/starter apartment gifts, what's the most bizarre/useless thing that you ever received? What about a cherished, utilitarian item that's still in active use today? 

Defense Doormat by Reed Wilson @ The Future Perfect ($50)

Izola Cotton Laundry Bag - Practice Conservation @ West Elm Market ($39)

Big Sur Cabin Spray @ Juniper Ridge ($65)

Redecker Natural Dustpan Brush @ Crate & Barrel ($14.95)

Murchison-Hume Classic Six Boxed Set @ Alice.com ($69)

Bottle Opener by Brendan Ravenhill @ Areaware ($14)

Foodie Garden Kits @ Poketo ($21)

Fox Rainbow Metal Sign @ Fluffyco ($31.95)

Hay's Clothes Pegs @ A+R Store ($26)

Lodge Round Fry Pan @ Williams-Sonoma ($17.95 - $59.95)

Merchant & Mills Sewing Notions Kit @ Kaufmann Mercantile ($75) 

Color Wheel Pillow @ Coyuchi ($72)

Cree 9.5 Watt (60W) A19 Warm White LED Bulbs @ Home Depot ($74.82 - 6/pack) 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.