hutch kitchen

This was supposed to be a post with words of wisdom.

You know.

The ones I’m always acting like I have.

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about the house that photographed itself and how everything in each room was perfectly placed and there wasn’t a lot of extra stuff on the surfaces and how each space was styled to perfection and then she said something that made me laugh out loud.

She said she wanted to make sure she didn’t cross the clutter line.

The clutter line.

And laughed and almost spit out my coffee and thought to myself….

…..good thing I never cross that.

Until I went to write a post on how not to cross the clutter line and realized when I looked at old pictures of my spaces, there were so many times I had already crossed it…..

…..and was selling lemonade on the other corner.


Example one.

Here’s a fall decorating post from several years ago.

What made me think I needed that many pumpkins?

Did every shelf really need a pumpkin and a few friends?

It looks like they all went to a pumpkin convention and brought a milk glass date.


Example two.

This over-zealous fall centerpiece.

I started with a barn door.

Then I layered in pumpkins and acorns and textured spheres.

Then….because that wasn’t enough….I added some white crinkle to round out the entire display.

And added a pumpkin friend in the background.

Tree Centerpiece

Example three.

Clutter isn’t just for fall.

It’s for Christmas, too.

I remember decorating this table and adding the white sprigs and saying yes and then adding birds and saying yes and adding burlap bows and saying yes and then standing back and looking at it and going outside and getting twigs from the yard.

Because it just needed that one little extra thing to make it perfect.

And that’s the thing.  When I’m looking at these pictures I feel like I’m wearing stirrup pants.

And royal blue eye shadow.

And high heels with socks.

I want to tell myself and my rooms to stand back and take a moment and take a few things away and calm down…..

….and take a breath.

fall decor neutrals

Like this.




Fall Transitional Mantel

Or this.

I mean….truthfully….it wasn’t all bad.

There wasn’t clutter 365 days a year.

Clutter hadn’t taken up residence and invited some friends over to a party……yet.

But I was surprised at how many times I added too much.  How many times I looked at a display and decided it needed one more thing.

Just one more.

I mean….if four pumpkins are good….wouldn’t five make it better?

So I analyzed my pictures and came up with a new rule for me and my-one-more-thing-self to stop me from crossing over the clutter line.

DIH Rustic Pumpkin Stand


When you finish your display or bookcase or shelf or hutch and you step back and look at it and you want to add one more thing.


Don’t try to add a small orange pumpkin to the shelf by the measuring cup.


Don’t add a lantern full of acorns to the right side of the desk.

Just stop.

And pause.

And tell yourself that you don’t need anything else.  It’s perfect just the way it is and don’t one-more-thing yourself into selling lemonade on clutter corner.

And let you and your rooms….

….breathe. 🙂

diy tips and tricks

And now here’s a few tips from some of my favorite friends. 🙂




dried hydrangea wreath on sutton place




Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Lanita Lanita

    Great advice! And aren't we all guilty of "adding just one more thing to make it perfect"....I know I am! I loved the analogy to the stirrup pants, royal blue eye shadow and high heels with socks....nothing like a great reference from the 80's!! Those are definitely the days we don't want to go back to and certainly serve as motivation to declutter!! Thanks for sharing! Blessings, Lanita

    1. Image for Kim Cuccaro Kim Cuccaro

      My Aunt Sally (may her soul rest in peace) was the best decorator I know. She used to say "Love everything you display but don't display everything you love.." That was some solid decorating advice!

  2. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I am guilty of the same thing. As Coco Chanel always said, stop before you leave the house and take off one accessory. Apply the same rule to your decorating, only, as you said, stop before you add that one last thing.

  3. Image for beverlee beverlee

    a never ending job. My Mother had lots of 'littles' . My sister had lots of 'littles'. I used to have lots of 'littles'. But you CAN breathe easier if you don't. I still fight it. I don't want to be responsible for all of those 'littles' and the care and cleaning of them. I have my Sweetguy trained to ask me......'do you want to dust that?'....and most of the time I don't. and even if I had someone to clean them, I breathe easier with some empty space. thanks for this post. we have all done it.

  4. Image for mary beth at MBZ Interiors mary beth at MBZ Interiors

    I believe I'm guilty of being too much of a minimalist. I wish I would find it fun to arrange dozens of pumpkins in my hutch but my weird brain would say "and who's going to move all those items to dust that shelf every week?" I don't have a cleaning lady, it's much easier to run a rag over a table where there is nothing on the table - am I a minimalist or just darn lazy? Don't stop because I love to live vicariously in homes like yours with beautiful vignettes!

  5. Image for Clare Clare

    Your home is beautifully done. I think we have to realize that everyone is not going to like the same thing. There is definitely a minimalist trend going around. Sometimes I look at magazines and think "how boring." Our homes are meant to be our sanctuaries. If we want a lot of things around and they make us happy, so be it! If we like minimal things around, so be it! We are all unique individuals and we are entitled to live our lives the way we enjoy them most - with little or a lot. I don't think you should beat yourself up over the beautiful arrangements you have made in the past, I quite like them! I happen to think more is more, lol! And I love my home filled with things I love, placed into pleasing arrangements, of course.

    1. Image for Cassandra e Cassandra e

      Yes! Thank you for saying this Clare. I love you and your blog Karianne, but I loved it when you were selling lemonade on the corner! (You are hilarious by the way. ) this movement in blog land to criticize ones old ways strikes me funny. I'm reading your blog because of who you have been, not some idealized version of who you will be. While I totally love you and your self effacing humor, try not to minimize yourself right out of blog land?! We love you too much to settle for one lonely pumpkin

      1. Image for Ally Ally

        YES! I thought I might be the only one who loves "stuff"! Being a vendor in an antique mall and representing a "little bit of everything olde and newe" =) I have stuff stuffed in all corners of my vendor space in a creatively, appointed array. I also live with lots of "displays" in my home, which change according to my likes....lots or little....I love to sit while chatting on the phone looking around and enjoying my collections. It's a matter of expression of the moment, right?! are a riot! Thanks for your humor in self critique! We love it...lots or little! =) I do think that lonely pumpkin needs a friend!

  6. Image for Pinky Pinky

    You cracked me up this morning....again! I am sure I am guilty of crossing the line, but then again, I like my stuff! I have been making an effort to pair down though and BREATHE! I just took a bunch of my things from my house to a friend to help "stage" her house, and truthfully, the house looks better! Lesson learned:)

  7. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Too funny! I can just see pumpkins all lined up going to the convention....with a milk glass date! And the first time I saw that pic...all I could think of lovely. Now, that you've pointed out the obvious...I see it. But, it doesn't smack you in the face..because it's all neutral! Balance is hard to achieve...especially with like minded pumpkins, and their cute milk glass dates! Best to keep an eye on them at all times! ;)

  8. Image for Kim Kim

    This is good advice. Just because a little is good doesn't mean A LOT is better! Haha! I'm guilty too. You are always good for a trip down memory lane 1980 something. I sooo remember stirrup pants. We didn't even try to hide the stirrup part. We just proudly displayed them, but who was looking at our pants with all that big hair going on, right? "And high heels with socks" reminded me of that old ZZ Top "Legs" video. Remember?

  9. Image for Mary Mary

    KarriAnne, I DID spit my coffee when I read this one!!! You are so funny... And girl, if I knew how to work this contraption well enough I'd send you some real pictures of CLUTTER... Got no idea how or where to start to pare it down. I've been collecting red transferware for years... and there it is... all clumped together on an antique pine cupbord... layers of it. Then there's the white ironstone. Come to St. Louis and help me!!! :) I'll make you some good coffee and we could laugh our way around my house. Ha!! You've succeded - this year it all looks sooooo pretty!

    1. Image for Catherine McD Catherine McD

      If you find someone to post pictures of your collection, I'd be happy to purchase some pieces of transferware and ironstone ! :)

  10. Image for Dianne Bell in Michigan Dianne Bell in Michigan

    Girlfriend, you had me laughing this morning! So true! We ALL do it! I try, remember I said "TRY", to live by this "Golden Rule" - " Less is Best " ⭐️ Have a lovely, clutter free day.

  11. Image for Kimberly Kimberly

    Best line ever: It looks like they all went to a pumpkin convention and brought a milk glass date. I am often horribly guilty of wanting to display ALL MY COOL STUFF. Unfortunately, no one can see the forest for all those trees! I am trying to get better about highlighting a few accent pieces than having it look like Autumn exploded in my home. Someone once advised, take everything out of the room and bring things in one by one until it looks good and then STOP. You are advising the same thing for vignettes, and it makes so much sense. It's hard to do when seasonal decor is so adorable! I mean, c'mon....punkins, acorns and milk glass!? Restraint is HARD!

  12. Image for Sheila Sheila

    Yep...I cross the clutter line! Sometimes I like it and sometimes not! Ha! But that is part of my English/traditional leanings that I have. At least that is what I blame. Ha! Sheila

  13. Image for Cheryl @ Living Design Cheryl @ Living Design

    It's always a good idea to ask ourselves if we need that "one more." Sometimes it's a fantastic find, or the perfect addition. Other times it does cross the clutter line. And we'll never know which it is if we don't stop to ask ourselves!

  14. Image for Maureen Maureen

    What a wonderful phrase! 'crossing the clutter line' I'd still decluttering after a kitchen+ renovation....uh 10 years ago! The charity shops love me.

  15. Image for Missy Missy

    Darn! I thought the title meant something else when I read it. I was hoping for advice on the piled up, catchall, built-in desk in my kitchen or that stack of meaning to read magazines beside my bed, or the pile by the back door that isn't taking itself to Goodwill..... My house is a mess, sigh!

  16. Image for MAH MAH

    Well, now Miss Karianne, here in the south we call it overdone, not necissarily bad, but you need to take care of it quickly before your MAMA sees it. Now, clutter that is something else. That is when you have books and magazines stacked and piled and you don't have room on your counter for anything else, and shoes are piled 2' high at your front door! Oh I could go on and on. But, what you do is neither overdone or clutter! Yours my dear is giving us eye candy that we love!

  17. Image for Rena Rena

    WERD. I am guilty of cluttermania too. It's all so pretty! and it's the season to display it! and I love it all so much! and ... and...!!! This year I have given myself permission NOT to put everything pumpkin/fall that I have in my "vault of treasures" on display somewhere. It's really not necessary to have a wooden pumpkin in the water closet and mercury glass pumpkin salt and pepper shakers on the counter. The pumpkin family that is out right now is a bit 'sparse' but that might be better and easier to enjoy. I actually did this because I have been overly busy with work and just haven't have the time. Now I don't feel guilty!!! Thanks Karianne for approving of my decision. I'm now going to pretend that was the original intent. :) Breeeeeeaaaaaaathe

  18. Image for Judy Judy

    Another funny and informative post, Karianne. Just remember, one day we'll all look back at pictures of our homes and decorating styles in 2015 and wonder, "what was I thinking?"

  19. Image for Cindy Brown Cindy Brown

    Oh, KariAnne, it is so HARD to keep it simple when there so are many adorable things out there! But...I must try and am going to remove some items and sell them and promise myself I won't use that money to buy more! You have a gorgeous home and I never saw it once as being "across the clutter line"!

  20. Image for Jamie | anderson + grant Jamie | anderson + grant

    This post is so true! I'm beginning to think that decorating is like styling yourself with all those tips that say you should remove a piece of jewelry after you're dressed so that you're not over done. I've been trying to step back after putting a display together and seeing what I can take away to make it better and less cluttered. Isn't it funny how we can all look back at our past posts that filled us with joy at the time, and now what you see is a convention of pumpkin friends and their milk glass dates!?!? (I still think all of the "cluttered" pictures above look pretty fabulous, though!)

  21. Image for Stacey Stacey

    The clutter line is different for everyone. I like special things to shine without a lot of clutter. On the other hand, I love to visit friend's homes who love lots of stuff...there's so much to look at and it feels cozy. It's just not something I can do though.

  22. Image for Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns Colleen@LilacDriveDesigns

    HA! Yep, I saw that comment on the post yesterday or the day before....if there is a line I have certainly crossed it more than once! Even after my latest fall tour I edited my mantel down and took a lot of stuff away from it. Now it seems happier. It just felt right being simplified. I've really approached all of my decorating that way over the last year. I am finding I like things a bit less crowded and it allows those simple pieces to just be. However, sometimes more is better but it depends on the decorating situation, there is a fine line between over the top and too plain, the trick is to know where that line is :)

  23. Image for Debra Debra

    You've made me think of the Jim Carrey line, "Somebody stop me!" Doubt any of us would've stopped by to read your adorable post if we weren't the type to cross the clutter line at one time or another(s). Thanks for the intervention.

  24. Image for Kris Kris

    I don't think of your previous decorating as "clutter"--I would use the term "maximalist". :) My idea of decorating clutter was visiting a coworker's home in the midst of the mauve-and-country-blue-with-ducks phase of decorating. I think I was wearing stirrups with high heels and socks. She had so much stuff on her wall I thought it might collapse. That was at the time when women hit every craft show, every weekend they could--cuz we all needed just one.more.thing.

  25. Image for Robin Stephens Robin Stephens

    Doing the hustle myself to get back over the line. very, very cool advantage to the less is more philosophy is we can possibly afford one or two special pieces when we don't think we have to have it all. But, more importantly, your humor is unmatched! Great post, as always.

  26. Image for Ann weisman Ann weisman

    That clutter thing is a real boogie. It just creeps on you. When you have stuff you love, it is to say no. I am working on mine by just taking a few things to Goodwill, like about once a week! I think it was Coco Channel who said after you get dressed take one thing off! Accessories, of course! Happy Day, Friend

  27. Image for Elizabeth Elizabeth

    I'm guilty of crossing that line...the difference, I don't care. Fall and Christmas are my times to be the Queen of Gawdy and I wear my crown proudly. I'm a more is more kinda chick unless it's the kitchen counter then I prefer a sea of granite and granite alone. We all have our "things", tends to make life interesting.. how boring if we were all the same:)

  28. Image for Carol Carol

    You might consider the same questions to yourself when you add these huge, slow loading images to your posts. Really, do I want to wait and wait to see pumpkins and dried hydrangeas. Sorry, this sounds ugly I know but maybe consider those of us with slower computers. Or not.

  29. Image for Nancy dawson Nancy dawson

    I bring out all my decorations for the special times of year. Halloween at our house is a happy time stuffed to the roof with all sorts of grand Halloween things. Sometimes you just have to let it all hang out. The rest of the year, the house is pretty bare.

  30. Image for Mir Mir

    So, here's the thing: I love all these pictures. I adore your talent for tastefully decorating everything. I appreciate the layers and textures... although they're retired now, my bubblegum pink lipstick and crimper would cringe at your neutral, drama-free classy decorating. Thank you for showcasing your style with humor, because I enjoy your blog so much.

  31. Image for Yvonne @ StoneGable Yvonne @ StoneGable

    KariAnne... I have a red carpet laying the way to the clutter line and beyond. I adore embellishment, after all, I am the embellishment queen. What great advice. I should print this out and every time I want to decorate I should take this out and read it! Oh my! This post is freeing and a little bit convicting (okay, alot)! Perfect advice, wise and much needed! LOVE partying with you!

  32. Image for Linda Linda

    Is it clutter or high end decorating? I still love fox country reds and greens! But really, we all know, I hope, that high heels and white socks is always a bad, bad, bad idea unless you are in a depression or WW2 production, of course.

  33. Image for Lidy@FrenchGardenHouse Lidy@FrenchGardenHouse

    We are all guilty of crossing over. Over to the clutter line "more is more" and guilty of the bleak, not enough clutter line. Thank goodness times change, what we like change, and at the time, we loved it! I love your clutter. I love your look, and your most darling self, you have the gift so necessary to remain sane in this sometimes crazy world: the gift of laughing at ourselves, while completely loving and appreciating who we are. xo Lidy

  34. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Now you've gone and hurt my feelings :-( What's wrong with stirrup pants, socks with heels and royal blue eye shadow?? That royal blue shade looks great with my black cat's eye glasses with rhinestones. And then my skintight leopard skin top looks fantastic with the black stretchy leather stirrup pants. My black stiletto heels with white socks are tres chic!! I make a real fashion statement -- everyone gapes in awe!! Sometimes they even point in amazement. Boy I can really strut my stuff when I'm dressed to the nines. Yes indeed! And my long dangly bell earrings lets everyone know that I've ARRIVED!! :-) Hey Miz KariAnne!! Whatever you do -- you do it great and with great style. Big Hugs -- you rock!

  35. Image for Marian@CMShawStudios Marian@CMShawStudios

    Ok, so I see where you are going with this...but I think it's more that your idea of what you really live looking at is getting honed. You have great pieces and great furniture now, not the " make due" stuff we all live with until craigslist or Arhaus really comes through for us. I pulled out all my Halloween garlands and gook and thought, " I HAD to have all this?" But I did at the time. Sometimes more is where we are design wise. And I loved it and I'm over it. Plus my kids made me this homemade chip board garland the says "happy Halloween" but some of the letters were strung in the wrong order and it has about 10 million googly eyes. That's my idea of being festive for the holidays. Sure adore you and your cluttery lemonade stand, The Other Marian

  36. Image for Fabian Fabian

    You know you are the best blogger ever, right? I mean, seriously, you are! Funny, talented, and consistently awesome, for reals! You rock it sistah!

  37. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Sigh, I've crossed the clutter line more times than I care to admit. I really need to get.rid.of.stuff. Really. It'd help if everyone else in the house didn't add to it. lol. Like the tray that holds the tv husband has put cables, a flashlight, paper scraps, etc in there. Guess I should be thankful it's contained but it would be nice if there was only the remotes in there. Hello life. But I get it, when we decorate, don't overdo it! Hope your week is going well. Hugs Cecilia

  38. Image for Suzanne Melton Suzanne Melton

    Clare, Cassandra e, Ally, Rena, Winnie, Elizabeth, Nancy dawson: Coco Chanel says to take off one piece? Beverly Feldman says, "Too much is not enough!" and I prefer Beverly's shoes to Coco's suits! Karianne (KARR-e-anne): I love your "old" photos, I love your current photos, and I love your "stuff." I especially love your photography; it's like going to photography school. For FREE! I think we're going to an auction Saturday morning. On offer, among other things we have no room for, is a large cabinet with many drawers of various sizes and all with brass label-holders. Have to bid; it reminded me of you!

  39. Image for Nancy @ Slighlty Coastal Nancy @ Slighlty Coastal

    Oh the clutter line. I'm guilty of it. I think it is just a change in your design eye. It will probably change back the other way in a few years. Right now it is all about white space. It will swing back the other way. It always does. One of my professors always said, "If you want a new idea, go read an old book". I tend to agree. Right now I'm snapping up 80's design books. Hmmmm...The smell of Drakkar is lingering in the air.

  40. Image for Rebecca Turner Rebecca Turner

    Ha!Ha!Ha! You are so funny! ...especially to me today! Because although I enjoy a "full" look, family and friends know that I also preach the importance of having a plane-a place for the eye to rest...and today my sister and parents were here visiting and we were laughing about the fact that I've crossed my own line. I love styled vignettes. (I might need to thin them out a little.) You have to sis is typically the one with more "stuff" keeping her company. She loves curly-cues. I don't! And yet, I bought an etegere with curled acanthus leaves because it also had a pyramidal point, which I particularly wanted, and I couldn't find a plain one. Also, my husband and I just finished an entry hall hat rack (wall mounted) made from a beautiful old footboard and it's got curly-cues along the bottom. Yikes! What am I doing? Wearing stirrup pants and selling visually clouded lemonade. Lol!

  41. Image for Susan Susan

    It's a darn good thing those little pumpkins and their milk glass dates didn't go beyond dating...could you imagine if they had been fruitful and multiplied? Oy vey! :) I think it's human nature to want more, more, MORE...we are always after that "one more thing", thinking that, surely, this will be the one thing that will make everything better. But, before we know it, that "one more thing" becomes a gazillion more things and, in reality, none of them have changed anything...they've only added to the confusion of our lives. Considering this, I'll be keeping your rule in mind when it comes to a lot of things...just STOP!...step back...enjoy what you've got at this moment...breathe. Thank you, KariAnne!

  42. Image for Centsational Girl Centsational Girl

    PREACH. I'm such a huge believe in letting vignettes and spaces BREATHE - well said my friend! xoxo Kate

  43. Image for Julia - Vintage with Laces Julia - Vintage with Laces

    Hi KariAnne, If I had to pay 1 $ for each time I crossed the clutter line, I would owe the clutter police a huge amount of money ;) . While I loved your cupboard and your fall vignette at the time you first posted them, I now would think, someone should pack up some pumpkins and spheres and sell them at the flea market, LOL. Can we still be friends? Our taste changes and develops. I'm really amazed that lately I often enjoy looking at very minimalistic stylings and designs. At the same time though, I'm still frequently tempted to add something here and there when I create or decorate. It takes a while to change a habit. Have a great weekend and please give some cuddles to Nash and the rest of the four-legged gang! xo Julia

  44. Image for Alice Hanson Alice Hanson

    Oh KariAnne, Here I sit in a house built in the 1400's! I am laughing myself silly! I am in England and we just left this castle with over 500 antlers on the walls, dating back to the early 700's. They need to read just one less! I love your home either way! Smiles from England, Alice

  45. Image for Sue Sue

    Is it wrong that I adore your early, pumpkin-loaded vignettes just as much as your minimalist mantels? Uh oh! I feel a new nickname coming on. Forget Suzy Homemaker, or The Witch at OneandSeventy... say hello to The Queen of Clutter! :-)

  46. Image for Kelly Kelly

    It's kind of like that rule for getting dressed up for the evening. When you look in the mirror and think everything looks good, take off one piece of jewelry...

  47. Image for Ann Ann

    I'm a firm believer in less is more...but I admit sometimes I don't follow that rule. Wise advice and lovely photos. Thank you for doing this with me every month. I love getting together. :)

  48. Image for Gabi Gabi

    Kari Anne, you crack me up every time I read your blog! Your article hit home with me. I recently also realized that I have difficulty staying on this side of the line. When decorating for fall, I saw that I was ADDING new but not subtracting OLD. Although I have been complimented on my decorating skills from a lot of people (including my daughter's 16 y/o friends....what?) I find myself compulsively drawn to adding that "just one more thing". Working on that--I am taking the approach I have with jewelry. I once heard a quote from someone famous (I guess not famous enough b/c I can't remember who) which stated "When you are dressed to go out and have all your jewelry on, take one piece of jewelry back off. That way you won't have too many pieces on and won't appear overdressed." I guess famous people have that problem a lot, you know...too many jewels.

  49. Image for susan b susan b

    Laughing reading this! Apparently I crossed the "craft clutter" corner last week. My husband gathered everything from my craft projects from the kitchen, dining room, living room and hall way and piled it on the bed. He figured I had to go through it to sleep. He just doesn't understand that I NEEDED that second blender because why would I make my own craft paper in the food blender? Those flat game boards for 99 cents each at Goodwill were CALLING MY NAME for a painting project! I NEEDED those tins because I was doing them over for something GREAT! And those extra salt shakers that have the too small holes - He just didn't understand that they were bought for GLITTER! He just doesn't understand that there was a really good plan for all of it! BTW - Just love your posts - keep 'em coming :)

  50. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    high heels with socks... CRACKED.ME.UP. Great advice, though. We just moved for the second time in 11 months, after living in our prior house for 15 years. I'm working really hard not to "over-do" the new place. My rule is to not buy it the first time I see it. If i regret not getting it, then I'll go back and get whatever it was. Same thing goes for putting stuff on the walls/shelves - I started with very minimal things, and packed away or sold the rest. Now, if I just have to put something somewhere, I'll go back and unpack or buy it. Otherwise, minimal is A-OK with me.


    I soooo agree!! edit, edit and then edit some more. I hope more people listen to you on this count. I like that you were brave enough to use yourself as an example, so many bloggers would not be that brave. I appreciate you being so candid. I see so many bloggers that do exactly what you are recommending them NOT to do. Less is more and enough is just enough. I think you have found the perfect formula for your decorating style. Kudos to YOU!

  52. Image for Cindy Cindy

    Somehow I just knew that this was gonna be one of those posts that made me laugh! Selling lemonade on the other corner? YES! Pumpkins need friends:D I have definitely crossed the clutter line...well, maybe not me (of course)- but for sure everyone else in the house! LOL!

  53. Image for lisa lisa

    I love how you have your plates displayed. Are you using a lip inside the cabinet so they don't tip over. I have open hutches and I'm trying to figure out how to display my china while ensuring it stays safe. Would love some tips. Lisa

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