College graduation gifts are a toughie. While most recent grads expect — and want — cash, it's always good to mix it up a bit without resorting to chintzy, personalized keepsakes (see exhibit A), well-meaning clutter that will be promptly shoved into a closet (see exhibit B), "it's a scary world out there" type items (see exhibit C), or passive-aggressive reminders (see exhibits D and E).

My suggestion? Give 'em something that they'll actually need and use in their first "grown-up" post-college home. After I graduated last week nearly a decade ago, all I really wanted was an IKEA shopping spree  which, of course, I didn't get so thank god for fully furnished summer sublets.

That being said, you may be on the receiving end of a confused stare if you gift your sister-in-law with a bright red staple gun, a Japanese dish scrubber, and a smoke detector shaped like a bird, but it's stuff she will use and will be thankful to have when settling into her new pad (or into her parents' renovated basement). In addition to the three aforementioned items for recent college grads, below you'll find a dozen additional home-centric gift ideas, many of which are handmade, made from eco-friendly materials, or promote sustainable living. Need more ideas? Check out this post from last year.

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

Inbox Mini Cargo Crates by Labyrinth @ DesignBoom Shop ($32)

Provendi Soap Holder @ Torquato (£15)

Concrete Water Absorbent Cup Rack by Kalki'd @ MollaSpace ($16)

Off the Wall Planter @ Poketo ($20)

Boys Bathroom Cleaner in Australian White Grapefruit by Murchison-Hume @ The Future Perfect ($10)

Chick-A-Dee Smoke Detector by Louise van der Veld @ A+R Store ($75)

Chalkboard Piggy Bank by Ladies and Gentleman Studio @ The Curiosity Shoppe ($95)

Alarm Dock by Jonas Damon @ Areaware ($30)

Arrow Junior Red Gun Tacker in Red @ Hand-Eye Supply ($13)

Tawashi Scrubber @ Twine ($7)

Recycled Prayer Mat Woven Hamper @ Brook Farm General Store ($145)

Organic Plaid Percale Sheet Sets @ CB2 ($24.95 - $119)

Plumen Drop Cap Pendant Set @ Plumen ($39.95 - Plumen bulb sold seperately)

Mason Jar Tumblers Party Kit @ Poketo ($48)

Ecowasbal @ The Future Perfect ($37.95)

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

Beyond the dorm: 15 practical, pad-centric gifts for college grads
Instead of a fancy fountain pen or a monogrammed briefcase, give the green-minded, real estate-fixated college graduate in your life a gift that can be put to g