I decided this weekend, as I thought about the fact that after being divorced for nigh on three years I still don’t have a vacuum cleaner, that it was time for me to start a new trend: the divorce registry. A divorce registry is a lot like a bridal registry, except instead of reigistering for things you’ll never use (like candlesticks or crystal bowls), you register for all the things you desperately need that you lost to your ex. (As far as I can tell, stores don’t sell dignity, so you’ll have to find another way to get that back.)
I started a divorce registry on Target.com with one item on it – a Dyson vacuum cleaner. Since the crappy cordless one I bought post-D stopped working a few months ago, I’ve been borrowing a vacuum once a week from one of my best friends who lives down the street. But damn it, I want a Dyson, and who says I can’t register for it?! I bought everything else I needed to start my life over myself, so this is one thing I’m not ashamed to ask for. (I thought about starting a Kickstarter project for one, but as a friend noted on Facebook, I’d need to come up with an artistic use for a vacuum cleaner.) During the two years immediately following my divorce when I lived rent free with my mother, I slowly stockpiled all of the items I’d need in order to move into a place of my own with my daughter. Then when I finally moved out of my mother’s house and back to New York City, I incurred all kinds of single mother startup costs, like having to buy my daughter a new bed and mattress, buying dressers for myself and shelving for my books and my kid’s toys. The expenses added up quickly!
Getting divorced is a costly proposition, and if you’ve got a gal pal* who is about to jump ship or is currently going through a split, why not throw her a divorce party? (Look, someone on Zazzle has already created cute invitations for you!) But don’t just make it a toast to her new found freedom – help a sister out by buying her some of these items she will most likely need in order to begin again. Or ask her to start a divorce registry of her own:
Bedding 1 of 15She'll need everything brand new: sheets, pillowcases, comforter and maybe even a bedskirt. (Do not let her continue to sleep on her marital bedding, OMG!) You can try to find something cute in a bed-in-a-bag combo (I just bought one at Target, they're cheap and cute but usually not as nice as the stuff you can buy individually). Tip: get her bedding with a red floral motif like this one to make her feel sexy. A friend told me red flowers are supposed to attract lovers!
Comforter available at Target
Towels, Bath Essentials 2 of 15Yes, she'll need towels and wash cloths, but ask about other bathroom items, too. For example, I lost my hairdryer in the divorce. Why? Mostly just because I forgot to take it with when I was GETTING THE F OUT OF DODGE.
Towel available at Target
Hand Towels 3 of 15I find that having something around that is homemade and feels old-fashioned can be really comforting in times of distress. Either make your pal some cloths like this that she can use in the kicthen or bath, or buy some someone else made on Etsy.
Dishcloths/hand towels available on Etsy
Cookware 4 of 15AKA pots and pans. I bought a set like this in red that cost around $100, which is average, though I did see cookware sets for even less. (When I was stocking up on items for a new place I tried to not always buy the cheapest thing, remembering you get what you pay for.) These are by Rachel Ray.
Cookware available at Bed Bath and Beyond
Cooking Utensils 5 of 15A basic set like this ought to work for everyday cooking, unless you've got a real foodie on your hands. Plus, the bright colors will add some cheer to what is inevitably a dreary time in a person's life, no matter how happy or relieved they are to be starting over.
Utensil set available at Bed Bath and Beyond
Dinnerware 6 of 15Or, you know, what normal people call dishes. They have a lot of great 16 piece sets like this at Target that should work for a single gal with a few kids. Most are beautiful and not pricey.
Dinnerware available at Target
Flatware 7 of 15I love this fun, inexpensive flatware by Fiesta. The set comes in every color you'd hope for and the handles are plastic so they'll be easy for kids to hold, too.
Flatware available at Kohl's
(Wine) Glasses 8 of 15It's rare that anyone make it through a divorce without a little self-medicating (unless they're sober already, which case, be sure they don't fall off the wagon!), and this set of glasses is perfect for a new singleton because they can be used as water glasses and/or stemless wine glasses. Super cheap, too!
Glasses available at Crate and Barrel
Coffeemaker 9 of 15Very important for someone like me, who lost the espresso machine my siblings got us (me!) for our (my!) wedding. I actually bought the teeny, tiny 4 cup coffeemaker by Mr. Coffee for like $5 or $10 at the drug store, which is great if your divorced pal is going to have a galley kitchen with little counter space. This one is full size, colorful, and available at Target.
Toaster 10 of 15Yup, I lost my stainless steel 4-slicer with special holes to fit bagels, too. This fun little Sunbeam is available at Target.
Microwave 11 of 15If your pal is moving from a home with a built-in microwave to an apartment, she may need a countertop unit like this one. I bought this very microwave - it's compact, it works well and it looks great. As of this writing, it's on sale, too.
Microwave available at Target
Dish Rack 12 of 15Even the cheapest of these are more expensive than you think, and the cheap ones rust or wear quickly, plus require a separate tray to catch water. This all-in-one unit doesn't cost much more but looks great and is built to last.
Dish rack available at Bloomingdale's
Cutting Board and Knives 13 of 15The knife set was his from his previous marriage (ahem), so I needed new knives and a cutting board, too. (I did keep the pieces of Cutco I used to demonstrate with when I sold those one summer during college. DD edge, son!) You can also buy her a wooden knife block or metallic strip to keep the knives on.
Cutting board and knife set available at Kohl's
Glass Storage Containers 14 of 15I bought some Snapware after I got divorced and it's honestly my favorite thing in my kitchen. It's so handy, it washes so well, it's eco-friendly, the pieces are all different sizes so you always have the right match for what you need to store, and there's no hassle with trying to use tin foil or plastic wrap. I can't recommend this highly enough as a gift for your divorced friend - or for yourself!
18 piece Snapware set available on Amazon
Home Tool Kit 15 of 15Don't get her one of those condescending pink tool kits for women. (I have one, it's gross, but it was the only one left on the shelf and I needed a hammer. A really girly hammer.) Everyone needs a few basic tools, even if they live in a small apartment.
Tool kit available at Sears
*Divorce registries could work for guy friends, too, but men typically make more money and so might not need the help as badly. But if your dude is destitute, by all means, help him out!
Note: you don’t have to buy new items for a divorced pal, either. For example, if by chance you have a gently used toaster leftover from when you yourself combined households with your spouse, that’s a great re-gift!
Main image via Target.com