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James Palmer is a freelance journalist and copywriter who has written for a wide variety of publications. For more, visit http://www.jamesmpalmer.com/.

Need Some Home Décor? Check Your Recycling Bin

Those old road maps can be a surprising source of decor if you frame them.

Those old road maps can be a surprising source of decor if you frame them.

Decorating your house or apartment can get really expensive, really quickly. But decking out your pad doesn’t have to break the bank. Below are a few things you probably have lying around that you can recycle into beautiful home décor.

Start your apartment search today!

Calendars and Maps. Sure, maps are kind of old hat now that you’ve got that spiffy new GPS with turn-by-turn directions, but there’s no need to throw them out. Cut out an interesting stretch of land from your travels, frame it, and you’ve got instant art. The same thing goes for last year’s art calendar. Those iconic images you admired for just one-twelfth of the year can now be enjoyed year-round.

More about Decor:
Unexpected Places to Find Decor Inspiration
Repurposing Old Items to Decorate Your Apartment

T-shirts and Sweaters. With a little stuffing and some thread, those old items of clothing can become attractive and cozy throw pillows.

Doors. Old doors salvaged from demolished houses or barns can find new life throughout your home as decorative yet functional pieces and accents. Turn a barn door into a dining room table. Turn an old door into a headboard for your bed. Hinge three doors together, give them a splashy coat of paint and use them as a privacy screen. The sky’s the limit!

Older Fixtures. Even fixtures from an older house—or your old house—can find new life in your new abode, and many can be found cheaply. Turn decorative ceiling tiles from an old building into a kitchen backsplash. Replace your dingy plastic tub with an old claw foot model. Replace handles, hinges and drawer pulls with their older, more rustic counterparts.

Containers. You never know when an old vase, flower pot or umbrella stand might come in handy as an indoor planter or other conversation piece. Sometimes all it needs is a good scrubbing and a little spray paint to become something brand new.

These are just a few ideas for turning old items into beautiful new decorations for your home. With a little time and imagination, you can turn almost anything into a vibrant conversation piece for your place.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/DNY59

Save Time and Money by Preparing Meals at Home

A Crock-Pot is a great way to make easy meals -- just toss the ingredients in, turn it on, and let it sit for a few hours.

A Crock-Pot is a great way to make easy meals — just toss the ingredients in, turn it on, and let it sit for a few hours.

Everyone in your family is super busy, including you! Preparing meals doesn’t have to be another expensive, time-sapping chore. You can save time and money in your apartment with just a few simple meal prep shortcuts.

A Crock-Pot is a busy cook’s best friend

Most people only use their crock pots for an occasional roast or an annual dish for some special occasion, but crock pots can be a terrific time-saver in the kitchen. Throw in a chicken or roast and some veggies the night before or before you leave for work, and when you get home you’ll have a piping hot meal ready to serve. It’s not just for roasts and soups either. Crock pots are great for cooking chili and even spaghetti sauce.

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Delight Your Friends with a Decorative Housewarming Gift

A bottle of wine makes a great housewarming gift, especially if you put a personalized label on it.

A bottle of wine makes a great housewarming gift, especially if you put a personalized label on it.

When a friend or relative moves into a new place, it can be hard to come up with a nice housewarming gift for them. Below are a few ideas for creative, decorative housewarming gifts to help your loved ones feel right at home in their new apartment.

Go green

Plants always make nice, thoughtful gifts and can add a bit of life and color to a new place. If the recipient doesn’t have a green thumb, opt for something relatively easy to take care of, or an indoor plant such as a fern, cactus or bonsai tree.

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Help Fluffy or Fido Stay Healthy with Homemade Pet Treats

On a hot summer day, your dog will love frozen cubes of chicken broth.

On a hot summer day, your dog will love frozen cubes of chicken broth.

We all want the best for our beloved dog or cat, and nothing says love to our furry pals than a nice, homemade pet treat. The trouble is, giving your cat or dog “people food” isn’t always the best option, and store-bought pet treats are expensive and usually not very healthy for your pets.

But you can help your pet stay happy or healthy by making their treats at home. Below are a few suggestions for pet treats that are not only tasty, but inexpensive and easy to make.

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Give Back This Holiday Season in Kansas City, Mo.

This holiday season, give back in Kansas City through these volunteer opportunities.

This holiday season, give back in Kansas City through these volunteer opportunities.

Are you a new arrival in Kansas City, Mo.? Want to use your talents, skills and expertise to make a difference this holiday season? You’re in luck! There are plenty of organizations in the Kansas City area who are looking for caring volunteers just like you. Here’s how to find them.

Voolla.org
Do you have a specific skill that you want to put to use to help make the world a better place? This website matches you with people needing those skills, and the money they pay goes to charity. Register your skills for free today and get started.

Volunteermatch.org
Find tons of volunteer opportunities in your area. Many organizations in your own backyard need help with everything from party planning to data entry.

Youth Volunteer Corps of Greater Kansas City (www.yvckc.org/)
This is a great resource if you have kids who want to volunteer. The YVCKC offers youth between the ages of 11 and 18 the opportunity to improve their community by volunteering. They offer plenty of after school, holiday, weekend and summer volunteering projects that are sure to fit you and your child’s schedule.

Volunteer Opportunities in Kansas City (www.americantowns.com/mo/kansascity-make-a-difference)
Part of Americantowns.com, this site links you up with local volunteer organizations in more than 27 categories. This is the one-stop shop for volunteering.

The Kansas City Zoo (www.kansascityzoo.org/Volunteer) has plenty of volunteer opportunities for you animal lovers out there. If you love working outdoors in all kinds of weather, you just might be a good fit for this great organization.

Church or School Organizations
Check with your child’s school or your church for places you can help out. If they don’t have any openings, they will almost surely know of someone who does. So get out and ask around!

Finding volunteer opportunities in a new city can be scary, but with a little patience and diligence, you’ll quickly find something that fulfills you while giving something of value to your new community of Kansas City, Mo.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/PinkTag

Volunteer Opportunities in Lafayette

With the holidays coming up, it’s the perfect time to give back to your community at these places in Lafayette.

With the holiday season coming up, it’s time to start thinking about giving back to others. Volunteering is a great way to have a positive affect on your local community and do something good for others. But what if you’ve just moved to a new place? It’s hard to find out about new venues where you can give to others. Fortunately, discovering new volunteer opportunities is just a click away! Below are some great places to start looking for volunteer opportunities near apartments in Lafayette, Ind.

United Way of Greater Lafayette’s Volunteer Center

Using this site (www.uwlafayettevolunteer.org/), you can search for volunteer opportunities in your area by city, ZIP code and interest. And new opportunities are being posted all the time!

Lafayette Online

The city of Lafayette maintains a website (www.lafayette-online.com/resources/volunteering) just for connecting volunteers with several local agencies in need of help.

Help the Homeless

Looking to aid a specific cause, such as the plight of our nation’s homeless? The Homeless Shelter Directory can help. Here is the link to search results for Lafayette:

www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/cgi-bin/id/city.cgi?city=Lafayette&state=IN

Be a Big Brother or Big Sister

If you have always wanted to make a difference in the life of a child, now’s your chance. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lafayette, Inc. is always in need of child mentors. Their website (www.bbbslaf.org/) lists details about their programs and how to get involved.

Church-Based Support

If you are a person of faith eager to lend a helping hand to your new community, the Lafayette Urban Ministry (www.lafayetteurbanministry.org/) can help. Their website lists volunteer opportunities, details about their programs and ways you can donate.

These are just a few quick links to get you started. Once you get out there in your new Lafayette community, you’ll no doubt find other ways you can volunteer.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/asiseeit 

How to Remove Old Wallpaper

By following a few simple steps, removing old wallpaper can be done without too much fuss.

Redecorating an older home or apartment can be a difficult task, especially if the previous owner covered every square inch with wallpaper.

Removing all that old, ugly wallpaper is no easy task, but the tips below should help you get it done with a minimum of fuss and bother.

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