My Organized Mess – “Where Do You Keep It All?”

As a professional wedding designer, paying attention to detail and keeping all ducks in a row was critical.

As a professional wedding designer back in the day, paying attention to detail and keeping all ducks in a row was critical.

 

Same thing goes in my current assignation as a tablescape blogger.

Same thing goes in my current assignation as a tablescape blogger.

By all accounts, I am a well-ordered, fairly Type A neat freak who would just as soon cut off my right arm as to have a pillow sitting askew. (Even more interesting because I’m married to the messiest man on the face of God’s green earth.) The 180° of that is that I have stuff…a LOT of decorating stuff. Perhaps more decorating stuff than any one person should have in a lifetime. But I like my stuff, and I plan to keep it. Every dish, every vase, every what-whozit in the place.
And this, dear readers, is where I keep it all…
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

First, let me tell you I couldn’t stay organized without my handy, dandy Flip Album catalog system. You can download the free version or get the upgraded version like mine for a one-time fee. (Worth it!) It is the ultimate in organization! I photograph and catalog every single thing that comes in the house including quantity and dimensions. It really helps this old brain with planning and keeping track!   Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “My Organized Mess – ‘Where Do You Keep It All?’” - Flip Album Catalog cover       Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “My Organized Mess – ‘Where Do You Keep It All?’” - Flip Album collage   Building your own catalog to fit your specific needs with a Table of Contents, Index, thumbnail overview, and individual chapters is easy. I currently have 3127 pages in 41 chapters, which is up by about 1000 pages since my post “Hoarding: Buried In Dishes & Decor” back in January of 2012. But having things catalogued is one thing….putting all this crap somewhere is something altogether insanely different! (Yes, when you have to find storage for it, it flips from “treasures” to “crap” in a heartbeat! 🙂 ) Our home is relatively small, about 3100 sq. ft. on 3 finished floors. When it comes to the volume we’re talkin’ ’bout here, that 3100 sq. ft. may as well be 310!!! But here’s where it is:

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “My Organized Mess – ‘Where Do You Keep It All?’” - Foyer napkin ring storage Upon entering our home, there is storage right there in the foyer in the form of a 12-drawer upright apothecary cabinet. It hides scads of napkin rings tucked into Ziploc bags to keep them from tangling up.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “My Organized Mess – ‘Where Do You Keep It All?’” - Dining Room This may be how you’re accustomed to seeing our dining room, but lurking behind all the pretties in every available nook and cranny…

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “My Organized Mess – ‘Where Do You Keep It All?’” - dining room buffet

Buffet behind dining table – 8 drawers of placemats, flatware and serving utensils

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “My Organized Mess – ‘Where Do You Keep It All?’” - Dining Room china hutch

China hutch – piles of white china with gold accents, gold-accented stemware, vintage Dresden.

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “My Organized Mess – ‘Where Do You Keep It All?’” - drawers at bottom of dining room china hutch

Drawers in china hutch – filled with placecard paraphernalia.

Meanwhile, across the hall in the library where I like to sit and read (OK, you got me…where I like to sit and look at pictures!)…

 

This Louis XIV reproduction vitrine is filled with silver, crystal, and six velvet-lined boxes of flatware.

This Louis XIV reproduction vitrine is filled with silver, crystal, and six velvet-lined boxes of flatware. I store all silver in plastic bags, plastic wrap or plastic crates to keep tarnish at bay.

 

 

The secretary on the other side of the room also holds silver and crystal pieces among the books.

The secretary on the other side of the room also holds silver and crystal pieces among the books.

Moving on to the living room…

The living room cupboards store dozens of chargers in various colors and styles.

The living room cupboards store dozens of chargers in various colors and styles.

The bar is laden with lots of stemware above with pitchers and other serving vessels beneath.

The bar is laden with lots of stemware above with pitchers and other serving vessels beneath.

The kitchen is home to both everyday dishware and lots of special occasion/tablescaping stuff…

The miniature "pantry" in the kitchen (upper left) is filled with china and accessories. The adjacent glass-front cabinet holds a part of my melamine collection and a few tureens. Cabinets across the room are filled like the one on the upper right with various plates, bowl, mugs and casual dining drinkware.

The miniature “pantry” in the kitchen (upper left) is filled with china and accessories. The adjacent glass-front cabinet holds a part of my melamine collection and a few tureens. Cabinets across the room are filled like the one on the upper right with various plates, bowl, mugs and casual dining drinkware.

 

This little black cabinet beneath the breakfast bar is a new acquisition. It holds more melamine and a few tabletop accessories. I'm still trying to figure out what to store in the 2 drawers.

This little black cabinet beneath the breakfast bar is a new acquisition. It holds more melamine and a few tabletop accessories. I’m still trying to figure out what to store in the 2 drawers.

Ramon has forbidden me from taking you into the garage, so we’ll just mosey on downstairs to the lower level.  (I just keep scads of wreaths out there along with a collection of outdoor cushions and pillows.)

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “My Organized Mess – ‘Where Do You Keep It All?’” - Lower level bar area

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “My Organized Mess – ‘Where Do You Keep It All?’” - Downstairs bar area The bar area on the lower level looks kind of like this on any given day, but there’s plenty of storage behind all those cabinets and knobs!

Each of the 8 cabinets and 8 drawers is filled with casual dishware, stemware, flatware, and/or serviceware.

Each of the 9 cabinets and 12 drawers is filled with casual dishware, stemware, flatware, and/or serviceware. That bottom right cabinet and 2 others are being outfitted with a 2nd shelf.

 

This box of melamine trays -a gift from a friend who is moving across the country- is waiting to be assigned a space.

These boxes of melamine trays -a gift from a friend who is moving across the country- are waiting to be assigned a space. (There are 32 of them!!!!! Yes, she has just as much of a hoarding problem as I do! 🙂 )

 

This is one of 2 small closets on this level that hold lots of crates, mostly autumn and Halloween stuff.

This is one of 2 small closets downstairs that hold lots of crates, mostly autumn and Halloween stuff.

 

This room as so much crap in it from crates to candles that I couldn't get a good panoramic shot.

This room – the originally designated storage space in the house – has so much crap in it from crates to candles that I couldn’t get a good panoramic shot.

 

Here's more of the stuff in this room. Storing spools of ribbon on pegboards is really convenient.

Here’s more of the stuff in this room. Storing spools of ribbon on pegboards is really convenient. Surprisingly, I know just where to go to get everything!

 

Enough of this basement level! Let’s go all the way up to the bedroom level.

 

At the top of the bedroom level steps sits another apothecary cabinet filled with more napkin rings and place card holders.

At the top of the bedroom level steps sits another apothecary cabinet filled with more napkin rings and place card holders.

 

This is a 4-bedroom house, but only 2 of us live here and we share a bedroom. So...one bedroom is used for storage of faux flowers in crates and oversized vases that have nowhere else to go.

This is a 4-bedroom house, but only 2 of us live here and we share a bedroom. So…one bedroom is used for storage of faux flowers in crates and oversized vases that have nowhere else to go.

 

In another of the bedrooms is an area I devote to "staging." This is what the room looked like on this particular day as I prepare for 3 tablescapes on hold waiting for weather conditions to improve.

In another of the bedrooms is an area I devote to “staging.” This is what the room looks like on this particular day as I prepare for 3 tablescapes on hold waiting for weather conditions to improve. (By the time Mother Nature decides to cooperate, I’ll most likely forget about doing these and move on to something else!)

 

 

 

Our guest bedroom is rarely actually used by guests, so there are a few storage opportunities here that can be easily altered when company actually does come a'callin'. The drawers of the antique dresser are filled with chair covers and sashes. The closet is crammed with a portion of my 300+ linens. My old hope chest is also a good place for storing linens. And then some things are stored right out in plain sight!

Our guest bedroom is rarely actually used by my granddaughter, so there are a few storage opportunities here that can be easily altered when company actually does come a’callin’. The drawers of the antique dresser are filled with chair covers and sashes. The closet is crammed with a portion of my 300+ table linens, stored by color and labeled. My old hope chest is also a good place for storing linens. And then some things are stored right out in plain sight!

 

I've stored dishes in this guest room for several years now. It just works!

I’ve stored dishes in this guest room cabinet for several years now. It just works!

 

 

And then there are those items that are not in plain sight but kept within easy reach! Under-bed storage in the guest bedroom has about 150 linens.

And then there are those items not in plain sight but kept within easy reach! Underbed storage in the guest bedroom has about 150 linens.

 

Oh, did I forget to mention all the linens hung behind doors?

Oh, did I forget to mention all the linens hung behind doors?

 

In my office closet are 5 shoe hangers filled with hundreds of napkins. More napkins are stored in plastic drawers on the floor.

There’s NO WAY I could photograph my office in its current state!!! I have a lot of projects going on, and it’s a huge mess. There are, however, several bookcases and a table in there with floral vessels (all filled with faux flowers), cake plateaus, assorted figurines, and oversized LED candles. In my office closet, however, are 5 shoe hangers filled with hundreds of napkins. More napkins are stored in plastic drawers on the floor.

 

Hanging on a towel rack on the door are numerous table runner. The more casual runners are stored in the basement.

Hanging on a towel rack on the door are numerous table runner. The more casual runners are stored in the basement.

 

Moving on….and we’re walking, we’re walking…

There's even storage in the hallway bath cabinets! Look above the cabinets and notice all the stone vases artfully arranged...storage in plain sight!

There’s even storage in the seldom used hallway bath cabinets! Look above the cabinets and notice all the stone vases artfully arranged…storage in plain sight!

 

 

We have a pretty good-sized walk-in closet in our bedroom, so I take advantage of the shelving above and beneath the clothes. Yes...I hoard clothes, too! :-)

We have a pretty good-sized walk-in closet in our bedroom, so I take advantage of the shelving above and beneath the clothes. Yes…I hoard clothes, too! 🙂

 

The area between our bedroom and my dressing room has lots of cabinet space for dishes and stemware!

The area between our bedroom and my dressing room has lots of cabinet space for dishes and stemware!

 

Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One, www.tabletwentyone.wordpress.com, “My Organized Mess – ‘Where Do You Keep It All?’” - Dressing room door leading into attic storage space

 

Beyond a door that appears to be a closet in my dressing room is an attic space built on in 2009. It's not heated or cooled, so I have to really pick & choose my times to access items from this space!

Beyond a door that appears to be a closet in my dressing room is an attic space built on in 2009. It was supposed to double as a safe room, but there’s nothing safe going on in here, that’s for sure!!! 🙂 It’s not heated or cooled, so I have to really pick & choose my times to access items from this space!

 

I’m certain I’ve left something out, but you get the idea, right? It’s a mess, but it’s an organized mess!

I’m joining a bunch of other dish-lovin’ bloggers from across the globe for The Tablescaper’s “Where Do You Keep It All?” blog party. C’mon along with me to see what they have up their sleeves!

 

 

42 thoughts on “My Organized Mess – “Where Do You Keep It All?”

  1. Oh my goodness. You had me laughing out loud (I refuse to use those shortcuts – I’m rebellious like that!). I don’t have as much ‘crap’ as you do, but it is still a challenge finding places to store it. My problem is remembering where I stored it when I want to use it. Perhaps I should look into your catalog system. If it includes an option to note where I store it, that might be my answer.

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  2. Omg..you have lots! Now do you remember what you have or where you have it? Do you have a card catalog for your china and linens? I have a hard enough time keeping track of stuff in a few bins. You deserve a lot of credit for keeping track.

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  3. Big wow! I’ve seen some of this before but I’m still amazed! You are efficient with your storage. You have at least 10 times more than me! I can’t remember all I have- I need a catalog. I remember you have a specialized way of remembering what you have.

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  4. WOW!! I just started this hobby, but compared to you and Alma, I’m a real light weight! It’s so neat to see all you have and where you stash it! Can’t wait to see your next gorgeous tablescape!

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  5. Whew!!!! I’m so relieved! I have NOTHING to worry about! I’m barely in the ranks of “collectors” when I see your stash, Alycia!! I HAD to enlarge the candles picture to make sure they were in fact candles. Bottom line, stores have less inventory than you do! LOL. And kudos on your organizing and arranging! I lice neatness too! Great post! Zuni

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  6. Wow, Alycia! My jaw just hit the floor! The best organized chaos I have ever seen! LOL!!! Only you would have a record system to keep track of everything. I take my hat off to you!

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  7. Not only are the queen of tablescapes but now I give you the organizers crown!!! You by far have it all down pack and totally organized… My god you have a store at your house…. I have just one set of China and find it hard to store that lol.. My head was spinning when I saw your storage and got excited about the best stuff sign.. Chuckles.. I can imagine what’s in those boxes.. I see why you’re the best at what you do- organization is a key factor in keeping it all together.. And sister girl you got it going on!!!!

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  8. And I thought I had lots of stuff! I always wish for more storage area but know it would fill up quickly. Love thr over the door towel rack.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing where you store your stash! I truly admire your inventory records. I have tried, but am so behind. One of these days! I like the idea of the towel rack over the door for the runners. I think I need to steal that idea.

    – Alma, The Tablescaper

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  10. Alycia,
    A M A Z I N G!!!
    You Go, Girl!!! No. .. you really go. . .
    upstairs, downstairs, to the garage & attic!!!
    Whew!!! That’s a lot of walking for assembling
    your decor accessories for a tablescape!
    Before, I loved your gorgeous tablescapes. . .
    now I will honor all the time and effort and steps
    you take to complete them, as well!!!
    I use to have a lot more dishes, placemats, napkins
    and accessories, but I’ve been editing over the past two years!!!
    . . .and I’ve been expanding the collections I desire most.
    AND, then today. . .I began a new collection. . .
    I purchased my very first (white) tureen!!!
    Thanks for sharing all the places you store your organized
    dishes and accessories. I am old school. . .I have all
    of mine Card Cataloged on index cards ina file box.
    Hey!!! It works for me!!!
    Fondly,
    Pat

    Like

  11. Hi Alycia – Thank you for a behind the scenes tour and let me say that your home is GORGEOUS!!! We are in the beginning stages of switching the boys rooms and in the process I will be losing some of “my” space. You have given me hope that I can still claim my area in different nooks and crannies of the home. Hugs, Holly

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  12. Have you thought about giving classes on your Flip Album Catalog System or writing a book? This is so impressive! I’m sending this post to my hubby to see and read. He complains all the time about my craft stuff taking over. I have nothing compared to this.

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  13. Oh my dear! I was laughing out loud by the time I got to your comment about the backs of the doors and then the safe room! Girl, this scares me to think that that could be me! I’ve got it pretty bad, but not as bad as you! That goes for both the Type A organization AND the quantity of stuff! But, all that said, you rock it, girl! It’s always sort of bothered me that I can’t keep it all in one area (I’d love to have that industrial shelving in my basement like Alma has, but I also want dust covers made for them all, lol!), but like you, I have mine scattered throughout the great room, kitchen, DR, and LR. I keep most of my linens in my guest room. I LOVE your catalog system – my husband has been trying to get me to do that with my shoes for about 10 yrs (just another one of those hoarding categories). This was really fun to see and read all this – thanks for being so brave and sharing it with us. 🙂
    Rita

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  14. Thanks for the tour! I don’t feel so bad now…but maybe your storage ideas are a thing of my future. Don’t let HH see this!! 🙂 We really get creative when we have to, don’t we?

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  15. OMG Alycia, you have made my Sunday morning. I love your record keeping – I will be looking for that later today. I started keeping track in a publisher file, but yours looks much more organized. Plus you made me feel as if I am a pauper in the tablescape collection. I refuse to use hoarder as it has such a negative implication. I prefer collector of beauty, savior of dishes. Particularly those that are rescued from an antique store. And there is the fabric problem!!! Thank you for such a wonderful tour. Would you like to take a vacation in Southern California?

    Like

  16. Hmmm, now I know how to make room for more things. There are 2 bedrooms in my house that aren’t being used and they both have lots of cabinet space. You’ve set my mind to swirling about all that I can now add!

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  17. Oh my, I’ve enjoyed my tour through your home! You certainly had me smiling and laughing… we’re walking, we’re walking… I loved it! You are so organized, Alycia. I admire all your tables and now your organizational skills, as well. Lucky you to have so much storage space. Maybe next time, Ramon will let you share peeks of the garage!! xo

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  18. I sure wish I had a dedicated room for all my tablescape treasures…instead they are here, there and everywhere. You do have a nice collection to choose from each week, Alycia!

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  19. You have really utilized every possible spot! Well done. I like using those shoe storage racks for napkins, too. I like keeping all my napkin rings in ziploc bags. That towel rack idea for runners, etc, is great. Your record keeping system is genius and I can imagine it’s value when you do tables professionally. I could go on and on…

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  20. I think your record keeping software would be great for my vintage/antique shop. I am going to check that out. I often find things that I look at in wonder and say to myself, “Where did that come from?” I couldn’t let you see my basement. It is organized in that the same type of things are in the same boxes but only one shelving unit has the boxes labeled. So, I have to look in each box when I’m looking for furniture casters or a door knob or a set of dresser pulls. I have wondered where you kept everything, but I never dreamed it would be so organized. Incredible, just incredible. You are the empress, queen, princess, and fairy-godmother of party settings and organization.

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  21. Oh, Alycia, you are so funny! Many thanks for letting us look at your stored items. I wish I could have you come to my house to help me get organized! When you see my “storage post”, you’ll know why! You are an inspiration! Rosie @ The Magi Hutch

    Like

  22. Oh to have that much storage space! I love your organization skills Alycia! I’m in awe and amazed at your collections. The towel racks for runners is genius!

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  23. I think I have an headache! I think I’m going to lie down and wait for the envy to go away.
    Your gift goes far than creating the Most Beautiful Tablescapes. You rule all the aspects of it, Girl!
    Hermitage and Louvre owe you nothing… after all for them it’s just paintings and some marble knick knacks. This is the Pure and Highest Form of Conservation!!!
    Before I lie down I think I’ll go through this one MORE TIME 😉
    Thank you for sharing,
    Teresa (humbled)

    Like

  24. Well, I’m speechless! I can’t imagine dealing with all those pretty things. We’ve always lived in small houses, so I’ve learned to “live small”. LOL
    I’m impressed at your organization. Do you ever forget that you have certain things and then buy the same thing again?

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  25. Idola,genia absoluta,maestra de maestras asi decimos nosotros los argentinos de las personas que son maravillosas como vos!solo quiero seguir aprendiendo de tu generosidad ,tu talento .Mi real admiracion!!!Yo recien estoy empezando juntando mis placas ,vos me animas a seguir .Lo mejor que me paso fue entrar en este mundo de los blogs tan maravillosos ycon tanta inspiracion.Maestra mi cariño y admiracion por compartir como te digo siempre tu talento con los que queremos aprender.Cariños desde el corazon y mil bendiciones!!!!!.Norma

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  26. OK…you win the Academy Award for Storage and Organizing!!…and the Pulitzer for cataloging all of your “stuff”….your incredible inventory of gorgeous dinnerware, flatware, and linens….and not to mention your accessories .. and it blew me away when seeing the candle cabinet…and OK, Alycia, not just one but two cabinets for napkin rings!…You my dear are amazing!…to be able to put your finger on one thing from the thousands of items and know exactly where it is …. well, that is truly an art form in itself…Bravo Alycia…bravo!

    Like

  27. You are one organized lady, Alycia! You did give me the idea to try a hanging shoe storage device for storing folded fabrics in my craft room, sorted by color like you do your napkins in your craft area–cool idea! Also the online way you organize your items–very smart–I never thought of doing that, but it makes a lot of sense!

    Like

  28. Yeah, I always wanted to see where my friend Alycia had stored ALL her AMAZING things and the huge amount of everything and yes, I can see it now and WOW! Besides been organized too, but it’s probably cause you were a pro back in the day! Your folded linens are awesome. When I fix the guest romos that’s just what I want to do! Thanks for sharing honey.
    Have a great week.
    FABBY

    Like

  29. At last, the post we’ve been waiting for! LOL!! Seriously though, OMG you are super-duper organized. I am amazed by all that you have. I’d seriously love to come shop your closets.

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  30. You have the gorgeous collections Alycia.Love the way you have kept the napkins and runners.Very well arranged and lessons to be learn t.Awesome post.Have a lovely week end.Lots of love…Sujatha..:):)

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  31. Wow, Alycia!!! I don’t think I have ever seen so much table stuff in any one home…a business’s warehouse maybe. You have been very clever to find so much hiding space for your goodies. Really amazing!

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  32. Well, it took me forever to get here in the first place, and then it took me forever to get through this post because I did NOT want to miss a thing. You have wonderful storage solutions because it’s not only organized but pretty to the “naked” eye as well. (I love the safe room that is really not very safe anymore. It might be my favorite part.)

    I really love the catalog part at the beginning and want to show that to my sister. She would love that. I love it too.

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  33. Oh, my, you do have a lot of stuff! Good stuff! I’m most impressed with how incredibly organized you are!! You are the queen of organization! You need a TV show to teach others how to do all this, plus tablescapes! Thanks for sharing!

    Katherine

    Like

  34. Pingback: Hot Fun In the Summertime! | Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One

  35. Pingback: Hot Fun In the Summertime! | Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One

  36. Good Lord, I am exhausted by just looking at all this! I missed this post when you first published it and found it thru your summertime fun post~ you are uber organized and I understand why you need a catalog! Wow! You must wear yourself out just gathering things from your home when you do a tablescape! Next time someone comments that I have a lot of stuff and am sending them to your house!
    Jenna

    Like

  37. wow! that’s a lot of stuff and it’s all so beautiful. I was wondering when you buy napkins/dishes – do you buy in 8’s or larger quantities?

    Like

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