DIY Whiteboard Project

On January 21, 2015, in Productivity, by Lauren Halagarda
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DIY WhiteboardHi there, Organize To Revitalize Readers! Today, I’m sharing a DIY Whiteboard Organizing project I worked on recently. When I relocated a shelving unit from my office a month or so ago, I freed up some blank wall space. I didn’t want to clutter up the space with another piece of furniture — that’s why I moved the bookshelf in the first place.

Then, I remembered Ellen’s post on using whiteboards to organize. Since I only have to turn my head to see this wall space, I thought it would be a perfect place for a whiteboard.

Even though you can’t see the wall right away, the office is the first room when you enter my home so I want to keep it pretty. I researched dry-erase boards and felt that they were:

  • kinda-plain-jane-too-corporate-officey
  • just too darned expensive
  • not the right size
  • too cookie cutter

So, I set out to make my own.

How I Created a Whiteboard (And You Can, Too!)

Step 1 – Get Materials

I purchased a large 24″ x 36″ poster frame from WalMart and hung it in my office right away. This is the frame I bought (I purchased a single frame in the store). I knew I wanted to play around with design and layout first.

I even toyed with the idea of using a thin sheet of steel inside the frame to add a magnet board. It turned out that I didn’t need it, but you could do this, if you wanted to. I didn’t want to spend time and energy creating something that didn’t work for me. Function, first.

DIY Whiteboard

24″ x 36″ poster frame from WalMart


Step 2 – Decide on the Layout

After living with it for a few weeks, I figured out that I wanted it to be half-calendar and half-blog post planning. I drew up a layout with half of the whiteboard for “This Week” and a five-week calendar section, as well as a free space for listing blog posts and their status.

I thought a lot (probably too much) about how to design the calendar and which medium to use. I love the look of back-painted glass, like this back splash:


painted backsplash

Midcentury Kitchen by South West Architects & Building Designers DHV Architects

Source: Houzz

It’s shiny and clean and goes with the slightly glam look I’m going for in my office. I considered applying vinyl to the back (in mirror), then painting and peeling the vinyl to reveal the negative. I decided against it because painting the entire back surface and adding a design to the front instead allows me to change it up in the future.


Step 3 – Paint

I spray painted a few light coats of Valspar Tropical Oasis in gloss (not sure if that’s necessary). You don’t have to make sure it is completely opaque. I could see through it when I held it up to the light. When I held it up against the cardboard backing, the coverage proved to be good enough.

DIY Whiteboard



Step 4 – Cut

That’s when I broke out my Silhouette Cameo (affiliate link) and cut out the calendar grid in white and lettering in pink.

DIY Whiteboard

Calendar grid


DIY Whiteboard

Carefully applying calendar grid


DIY Whiteboard

First section of calendar grid in place


Step 5 – Decorate

I’ll probably add decorative molding, but for now I wanted to keep it simple. But, I still thought it needed a little something. So, I grabbed some gold paint from ACE and hit the poster rails. The can indicates that it’s “not intended to be a durable finish; for added protection, use a clear topcoat.”

So, I did — but the clear dulled the finish. I read somewhere recently about “sanding” spray paint with a brown paper bag, and I figured it was worth a try. The gold turned out a little less bling and a little more antique, but I’m happy with the finished product.

I’m calling it DONE!

DIY Whiteboard



DIY Whiteboard

Closer view of the calendar


DIY Whiteboard

Love it!


Step 6 – Enjoy!

I love it! The only thing that would make it better is a gold dry-erase marker. :D  Don’t you agree? The best part is that it was so inexpensive to DIY that I won’t care so much when if my three year old damages it.

Another Whiteboard You Can Make

Here’s another whiteboard I made more than a year ago for weekly meal planning. It helps avoid the dreaded “What’s for dinner?” question.

DIY Whiteboard

“What’s For Dinner” whiteboard


The great thing about this is you can completely customize it. You can use any size, shape or color frame you’d like. Add vinyl, whiteboard tape or washi tape, if you’d like.

You can paint the back of the glass or Plexiglas or you can add a printable to the frame as a guide. Here’s my Weekly Menu and a Weekly Schedule printable you can use right away if you have an empty 8″ x 10″ frame handy.

Let me know what you think! Do you have an idea for creating a DIY Whiteboard in your home? Please share!

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Refresh Your Home

Original Image Credit: Houzz

Since January is National Get Organized Month, let’s focus the first 5-Minute Organizing Challenge of this year on decluttering your home. If you accumulated more stuff last year, now it’s time to edit what you have.

The following mini-challenges will take five minutes or less for each activity, so you can revitalize your home in no time if you take them on.

Refresh Your Home 5 Minutes at a Time

  1. Pack or toss leftover holiday materials. Collect all of the decorative holiday bags, bows, ribbons, and wrapping paper in one area. Spend a few minutes deciding what you can reasonably use next year and separate those items. After you finish, toss the rest of the paraphernalia (recycling what you can).
  1. Clear out your medicine cabinet. Briefly go through your over-the-counter and prescription medications to check expiration dates. Remove all of the bottles of expired medication and place them in a bag. Many cities offer community-based drug “take back” programs, so check to see what is available in your area. Your local pharmacy may be a great place to start or you can call DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539.
  1. Get rid of random chargers and useless small electronics. Scan through chargers, electrical cords, old cell phones, ear buds, and other small electronics. Whatever is not working or cannot be matched to a device should be discarded appropriately. Visit retailers like Whole Foods and Staples and make use of their recycling programs for small electronics.
  1. Shred or recycle unnecessary paperwork. This includes duplicate bills, old receipts, clothing tags for items that are not returnable, and old takeout menus. In five minutes or less, you could tackle each of these categories.
  1. Donate or recycle magazines from 2014. If you have stacks or bundles of magazines that you didn’t have time to read last year, it is unlikely you’ll get to them this year. January issues of magazines have already arrived and February issues are on the way. However you decide to part with them (donate, sell, recycle, etc.), it’s time to embrace the “out with the old, in with the new” motto. With a few minutes of prep, magazines of the past will no longer function as clutter in your home.

What other simple steps can you take to refresh your home for the New Year?


 Click Here to Learn More Ways to Get Organized in Five Minutes!

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5 Ways to Get Organized for the Year Ahead

On January 17, 2015, in Organizing, by Stephanie Shalofsky
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Get Organized in the New Year

Original Image Credit: Canva

It seems amazing, doesn’t it? Here we are right at the beginning of 2015!

Somehow we managed to frantically finish our holiday shopping while at the same time attending to the responsibilities of work and family.

It’s been a pretty hectic, but it’s also a fun time for sure — especially if you allowed yourself to take some time to enjoy the good cheer that comes along with the holidays.

Now that the celebrations are behind us, this is the perfect time to think about the New Year — not so much about the resolutions that we may have already been made and broken, but for the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead.

Yes, a new year, a new you!

Related: Resolutions Are a Waste of Time

5 Ways to Get Organized for the Year Ahead

As might be expected, being more organized often makes the top ten list of what people want to do for a better, more improved new year. To help with that goal, the following are some suggestions on how to get organized and stay organized in this year:

1. List your goals. Before you jump in and start to do ANYTHING you should write down what you want to organize and then assign a time frame to the task. It’s an old cliché but that which gets written down gets accomplished. Keeping the tasks and schedule “in your mind” makes them less concrete.

Make certain that you establish a reasonable and achievable schedule. Attempting to get organized by cleaning out the entire attic and garage on one rainy Saturday simply means that you won’t accomplish the task AND you will likel feel disappointed. This is not great motivation for the next task on the list.

2. Make a plan. Start by picking the location where you want to begin. Identify a room, drawer, closet, or desk — or any other space that needs to be more organized. I always suggest that people start with the area that is causing them the most distress. By doing this area first, you will have an automatic feeling of accomplishment and will be encouraged to do more!

3. Make it easy to do. Before you begin tackling your space, be certain that you have the supplies and tools you need to do the job. That way, you won’t have to stop work prematurely to get things you need.

For example, make certain that you have sticky notes (affiliate link) for labeling the piles, folders for the papers, Sharpies (affiliate link), and the like. And, of course be sure to have good-sized, sturdy garbage bags to throw away what needs to be discarded as well as bags for items that you wish to donate, recycle, or sell.

Related: Save Money by Recycling and Repurposing 

Brian Tracy


4. Reward yourself. It seems like a simple thing, but getting and staying organized takes work and rewarding yourself is that all important pat on the back that we all need.

Of course, how you reward yourself is entirely up to you. Regardless of whether it is small like meeting a friend for coffee or more extravagant like going out to dinner with your spouse or partner, rewards are always great motivators.

5. Make organization a habit. Once you get organized, the key to staying organized is to create very simple systems that are easy to keep up with.

For example, take just five minutes at the end of each day to put things back in their rightful places and throw away unnecessary “stuff” that has accumulated. Leaving things for the next day (or the day after that!) usually means that the clutter will start to build up again, and it will no longer take just five minutes to get things back in order.

Of course, if all of this seems to be just too time consuming and overwhelming, you can always hire a professional organizer (like me and others) to help you with the job.

Here’s to a more organized new year!

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Make Reading Easier With Read It For Me

On January 12, 2015, in Business, Technology, by Nealey Stapleton
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Do you like to read? I know you probably DO read, but do you actually LIKE it? I’m going to be really honest. I don’t like reading. I never did.

Maybe it’s the back and forth motion of my eyes, but I fall asleep almost immediately. Then, I don’t remember what I read and have to read it again.  So, I get frustrated, and declare, “I hate reading!”

That said, I’m very aware that personal growth and business development go hand in hand with reading. Even with all of the video and audio learning options out there now, the written word cannot be completely avoided.

That’s when I discovered ReadItFor.Me.

Read It For Me

Image Credits Hubspot (top, bottom left); ReadItFor.Me (bottom right)

Benefits of Read It For Me

When I found out about Read It For Me, I was enthralled right away. It’s an online service that reads best-selling business books for you, and turns them into 12-minute animated videos featuring the main points.

Say what?!

It’s nothing short of awesome and there’s a free membership option for you to try it out. I recommend that you give it a test drive because you’ll …

  • Learn. You’ll learn the big ideas from the top marketing, sales, leadership, and personal development books in the world in 12 minutes or less.
  • Teach. Want your team to digest the information too? Read It For Me will give you the workshop format including the exercises, so your team can apply what they learned to the business.
  • Meet. Join the workshops that Read It For Me puts on every week for live support.
  • Peek. Access the weekly Read It For Me interviews with successful entrepreneurs who share how they got to where they are in business and in life.
  • Give. When you commit to the one percent personal development pledge, a student will get a $1,000 scholarship to Read It For Me to build their very own remarkable business and life.

Read It For Me

Why Does This Matter?

If you’re still not convinced, there are few other things to keep in mind. Using Read It For Me can show you how to:

1. Grow. Your business, that is (and yourself, too). Learning the top ideas from the top books will only breed fresh, winning ideas that could catapult your business in new ways.

2. Share. When you take advantage of the workshop feature, you are given the opportunity to share the golden nuggets you learned with your team. Happy employees or co-workers equal profitable business, and that brings us back to #1.

3. Help. Why not take the opportunity to help others succeed? The personal development pledge has a ripple effect on the students that benefit from it. It encourages entrepreneurship and living a life on purpose. Give yourself a pat on the back for that!

4. Invigorate. Between the workshops, the interviews, the videos and the scholarship program, you won’t be able to stop that motivational fire under your butt. It’s invigorating! I highly recommend it.

I leave you with the question they have posted on the Read It For Me home page:

“What could you accomplish if you spent just 1% of your working hours each month learning the main ideas from the world’s best business and personal development books?”

I’d love to hear your answer. Please share in the comments.

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Fact Friday: Multitasking Decreases Productivity

On January 9, 2015, in Fact Friday, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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“A Realization study shows multitasking can result in a productivity loss of up to 40 percent. In the absence of multitasking, there was a 59.8 percent average increase in the number of projects completed and a 35.5 percent reduction in the time it took to complete a project.


Read More:

‘There’s No Such Thing As Multitasking’ | | 1.7.2015


Related Information











*All book links are affiliate links.

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New Year Reflection ListThe new year is our time for reflection and new beginnings. We usually think of improving different parts of our life, but we may not necessarily take stock of successes, happy times, and big events from the previous year.

I want to encourage you to start this new year with a new list, one that lets you look back. I call it a Reflection List.

What is a Reflection List?

A Reflection List includes personal and professional  successes from the last year. It can include events, professional accomplishments, trips, birthdays, anniversaries, awards, home renovation, or any thing you consider a highlight of the year.

For the past few years, I have included 25 items on my list. However, our personal and professional happiness has no specific number of events associated with it. It is a way to stretch and reflect.

Give yourself a challenge to go beyond what easily comes to mind to add to your list. Be sure to record your list on paper or in a digital notebook. It’s a keepsake, so store it in a place that’s easy for you to find and review.

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

~Oprah Winfrey

What’s on My Reflection List This Year?

I have started adding to my Reflection List throughout the year on my smartphone. I wanted to look back throughout the year and having my list on my phone makes it easy for me to do that. 

Looking back at the list is a way to remember what’s most meaningful to me and reinforce my values. I always smile when I see it nestled in among all my lists on my phone.

Here are just a few items on my Reflection List. They are all special moments for me this past year …

Take Time to Savor Your List.

Each year, a friend and I spend an evening reviewing our Reflection List. It’s one of the ways I find to reflect, be grateful, and create positivity. We spend a wonderful evening laughing, reflecting, and savoring each moment from the past year. Setting aside this time to review and reflect gives us the opportunity to see our strengths, know what we love, and to share our personal triumphs.

What will be on your Reflection List?  Please post just a few items from your list in the comments! It’s one more way for us to connect and share joy in starting the new year.

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Happy (Productive) New Year From Organize to Revitalize!

On January 1, 2015, in Happy Holidays, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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Welcome to 2015! It’s the first day of a new year for those of us in the United States. Though we have the day off, we’d like to thank you, the readers, for hanging around with us for the last six years.

From all of us here at Organize to Revitalize, we wish you fun and relaxing times … and a wonderfully productive and happy new year!

happy new year

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3 Ways Disorganization Can Damage Your Relationships

On December 31, 2014, in Relationships, by Janice Simon
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disorganization damages relationshipsI hear a heavy sigh behind me.

The heavy sigh came from the husband of a friend I was helping organize the bathroom. Her overstuffed vanity contained what I called “hope in a jar” syndrome, and she is on a constant Holy Grail search for the perfect moisturizer, hair product, and make-up. Although these products work well and she likes them, she always thinks there is another one out there that would be better.

Her husband looks at the vanity and sees lost money and time. When I suggest that she go on a shopping moratorium, the sigh automatically came out.

Dealing with people and their messy, human foibles is something we organizer types do on a regular basis. What’s really tough is when their frustrated loved ones lash out because they’ve reached a breaking point.

Disorganization can damage your relationships at home and work. Some may wave that off and dismiss it as other people just being grouchy and whiny.

You can’t easily dismiss the way you make other people feel. If they feel it, it’s legitimate even if you view it as people simply overreacting.

3 Ways Disorganization Can Damage Your Relationships

1. You’re Always Late.

You always have a great story about why you’re late. Meanwhile, your friends and family are fuming or super duper annoyed because you’re late. Again.

When you are constantly late, the other people waiting for you feel like they’re not that important to you since you don’t respect their time.

When one of my co-workers says she will be ready to meet in 10 minutes, I know it’s really going to be 30 minutes. In the work environment, consistently being late turning in projects will damage your work relationships. Co-workers will not want to work on projects with you since it will directly affects them and their deadlines. It can be annoying when they have to constantly chase someone down to finish their part of the project so they can finish their work.

Here are a few ways to curb your lateness:

  • Leave 15 minutes earlier. Set a reminder on your phone to get out the door on time.
  • Track time. We’ve very good at underestimating how long it really takes to do something. Track how long it really takes you to get somewhere or do certain tasks. Keeping a time log for a couple of weeks is helpful to find out how we spend our time.
  • Plan ahead. Get ready for work the night before. Lay out your clothes, pack your lunch, and do whatever you can to get out the door faster (like getting all your must-haves together — watch, mobile phone, keys, etc.).

2. You Went Shopping. Again.

We’ve all read the statistics about how money is one of the top issues couples fight about. With organizing clients, I’ve seen firsthand how overshopping can affect relationships with the entire family. In some situations, constant overshopping can lead to extreme clutter, health issues, and severely damaged relationships.

Even with friends, this can be an issue. Years ago, one of my friends was on a quest to find the perfect black flats. This became her version of The Holy Grail. Every time we wound near a shoe store, she would come out with another pair of black flats. One time we counted. She had well over 50 black flats, and none of them were perfect.

Here are a few ways you can curb overshopping;

  • Reflect and get help. Determine what you are really searching for. What does shopping and the act of acquiring do for you? Still not sure why you buy a lot? Consider talking with a therapist and find out why you tend to overshop. A co-worker told me once that her mother never let her wear red while growing up because it was a “Jezebel” color. As an adult, she had amassed 85 red shirts.
  • Take inventory. It can help to see what and how much you have. Pull everything out of the closet, underneath the sink and bed, and any other place you’ve stashed stuff. Make a list and save it in Evernote so you can access it wherever you are. Then, before buying something off your list, look at your inventory to see what you have. Chances are you already have it.
  • Add limits. Shop only with a certain amount of cash and leave your cards at home. Set time limits for how long you will spend shopping.
  • Focus on experiences. Instead of buying on a whim, create a bucket list with things you want to experience — like going on a big trip — and save money for that.

3. You Can’t Make a Decision.

When I see people (myself included) waffling about making a particular decision, I picture that scene from Back to School with Sam Kinison.  If you’ve watched this movie, you can probably hear Sam in your head right now. Say it! (Click here to see that scene, but be forewarned there’s some graphic language.)

If one person is always making the decisions in a relationship, this could lead to decision fatigue where the other person is screaming like Sam Kinison — even if it’s on the inside.

Now, I know a few people who say they don’t care what restaurant they go to, but their partners would like them to make a choice every now and again so they don’t have to carry the burden all the time.

Here are a few ways to curb decision paralysis:

  • Just decide! Make a flipping decision already. About anything. Select where you want to go for lunch or what to have for dinner. Decide between the red pill or the blue pill. Matrix fans, you know what I’m talking about. Just make a decision — even a very small one — and see how that feels. Trust that no matter what choice you make, it will be okay. Don’t like the restaurant you picked. No problem. Don’t go back.
  • Alternate choices. With significant others and friends, take turns making choices about what to make for dinner or what movie to see or where to go on vacation. You go first.
  • Use deadlines. You could end up in a never-ending cycle of deciding what to do. To keep that from happening and to stop decision paralysis, set a deadline for making a decision. Gather your facts. Get feedback from people you trust. And, then decide by a certain date. You can do it!


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Happy Holidays From the Organize to Revitalize Bloggers

On December 25, 2014, in Holiday Planning, by Deb Lee, Certified Professional Organizer®
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It’s Christmas Day in the United States and the Organize to Revitalize bloggers are likely off making plans for fabulous feasts with friends and family.

If you celebrate Christmas, we wish you a day filled with merriment and wonder … and good eats, too! For our friends who don’t celebrate, we hope you have the day off to enjoy doing things you love. =)

Happy Holidays from Organize to Revitalize


… and, if reading is one of those things you enjoy, here are some holiday posts for you to check out:


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holiday stressI love the word Chillax!

A hybrid of the words “chill” and “relax,” it basically means calm down! Okay, are you laughing and saying:

What is she talking about?!

Yes, I know, I know … the holidays can be stressful, but there are ways to reduce that stress and still be productive.

For example, you might try to get one harder task out of the way and then reward yourself when you’ve completed it. So, if you’ve spent the greater part of a day (or two) decorating your tree, you can feel good knowing that you’ve crossed something off your list.

… and, you can reward yourself by getting a massage to ease the muscles you may have strained by reaching up high and bending down low.

But, that’s not all you can do when faced with the pressures of the holiday season.

How to Destress & Be Productive During the Holidays

Of course, there are other holiday tasks that can create stress. And, the good news is that there’s a way to melt that stress away so you can enjoy the season. Read on to learn how you can tackle the trickiest of holiday tasks to keep your stress levels low and holiday spirits high.

1. Holiday Shopping

Task:  Shop at the mall for presents.

Stress Trigger: Just finding a parking spot can be nearly impossible!

Stress Reducer: Make a list of stores you will go to and what you will buy at each.

Reward: Head home to walk or play with your pet. Or, or if you don’t have a pet, visit to your local animal shelter. Shelters are always looking for volunteers to come in and give their animals some loving. Plus, petting an animal can do wonders for your mood!


2. Gift Wrapping

Task:  Wrap many, many gifts.

Stress Trigger: Paper cuts, sticky tape, and awkward shaped items … oh my!

Stress Reducer: Many stores offer gift wrapping services. Next time you’re out shopping, consider visiting the store’s gift wrapping station. While they’re being wrapped, you can grab yourself a cup of java or hot chocolate.

Reward: If you choose to wrap your own gifts, enjoy a treat! Pop some cookies in the oven before you start and use the simple slice and bake kind. Eat one after you wrap each gift … on second thought, maybe grab a treat after wrapping more than just one gift, or else you’ll get yourself sick!


3. Preparing for Guests

Task:  Organize the guest room.

Stress Trigger: Taking all those things off of the catchall spot, a.k.a. the bed!

Stress Reducer: Each time you walk by the guest room, take something out that doesn’t belong. And, take 15 minutes each day to clear and put away (in the proper place) things that have been living on the guest bed. Little by little, you’ll get it done!

Reward: Bring in a magazine or book with you at the start and lock the door. When you’re finished with your 15 minutes of clearing and organizing, flip through your magazine or read a chapter of your book. If your family comes knocking, tell them you are still working!  They’ll be relieved that you didn’t request their help, and you’ll be happy to get some quiet time to yourself!


Other Ways to Reduce Stress and Get Stuff Done

The holidays don’t have to be stressful even though there’s usually lots to get done. Remember, you can also bypass these harder tasks by getting some help!

1. Get help. Call in the troops! There are likely several people who would love to help you decorate your tree or home, enjoy wrapping gifts with you, and even assist with organizing your guest room!

Think about reaching out to people that you tend to interact with regularly. And, don’t forget to contact people in groups that you participate in, like:

  • Online communities (with local peeps in the area) on Facebook or Google+
  • Houses of worship and religious congregations
  • Volunteer associations

2. Shop locally. As for shopping, make it easier on yourself by thinking local.

  • When you shop in local establishments, you probably won’t have to travel very far! That can mean less driving, less traffic to deal with, and quicker trips to the stores.
  • You’re also likely to be supporting the mom and pop shops in your surrounding neighborhoods when you shop locally. Think of your friends and acquaintances that own small businesses offering goods or services. Why not buy gift cards and gift certificates from them? You can also suggest them to your other friends and family as a resource for gift giving.  You never know — you may even get rewarded for passing their name along to others!

Now that you’re armed with these tips, here’s to you! Have a happy and healthy — and stress-free — holiday season! As for me, I’m going to chillax now. ;)


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