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#1 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone want to participate and/or support?

I'm have always been pretty good at not buying total junk, and I am really good at decluttering but...I am a sucker for internet and thrift shopping, especially kids stuff. I often regret what I buy even though it's usually perfectly useful, nice quality items. I am always decluttering which is silly - at some point the flow in and out should stop, right? And although it's money we can afford to spend it's so unneccessary.

My goal is to only buy consumables (food, paper products) and replacements for anything we use that cannot be repaired. When we do need to buy something we'll look for used.

I'm interested in strategies for talking myself down from purchases. I'd also love some reccomendations for ad-free, minimal "stuff" blogs. I really enjoy reading parenting/craft/Waldorf-y blogs but sometimes they feel like big commercials and I always find some toy or book that we just have to have. I'd rather avoid the temptation without giving up the entertainment.

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#2 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 11:51 AM
 
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I'm in! I am actually having a hard time going into any store -like Target for example - to find anything I want to buy the kids for Christmas. It all looks so junky to me now.

I also am finding a lot of blogs to be loaded down with tons of ads and "oh look, here is this great product I got sent to review for free, now you should go get it too, it is so natural, yada yada" Blogging, imo, is becoming just more advertising. Even coupon and money blogs have so many ways for you to spend your $$. I think just being aware of this helps to stop some of the over purchasing.

Lastly, SageR don't be so tough on yourself for a purchase that you may regret. Save the receipt and return it or pass it along. I find it also helps to let go of some of the perfectionism and realize it is ok if every purchase is the not the best choice ever. Funny story - I passed along a tricycle and it was given to another person's kid. (Not who I gave it to originally) Well, the trike turned out to be a big hit with the kid. This made me very happy. Funny thing was I had no idea and the kid's parents did not even think it would be or had plans for the kid to have a trike yet. Sometimes we never know what the perfect thing will be and it all just sort of happens by accident.
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#3 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 12:00 PM
 
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I'm always striving for this also. I love to make new clothes out of old fabrics or clothes I don't like or wear. I can't stand buying anything new because the prices are just Ridiculous. And the sheer amount of resources wasted to make all this brand new crizzap makes me sick to think about. So it's very easy to not buy new when I think of where it all comes from. A couple things came to mind right away when I read your post, and if you haven't read them yet I think it might help:

First, this post on the mnmlist blog:

http://mnmlist.com/the-true-cost-of-stuff/

And then the site itself: http://mnmlist.com/best-posts/

I don't have any other recs for blogs because I've never really read any except for Leo's Zen Habits, his minimalist site there, and the new zen family habits. Hope this helps a bit.

Just keep doing what you're doing, read to learn more, and before buying anything (used or new) think of everything you have in your home to see if there is something- anything- that could work instead of buying. But you already know all that.. just sayin'.

Something what works for me is to Always wait at least a week before buying anything (online or otherwise, and anything that's not food or a true household need), and I usually end up not buying whatever it was. Also, visit this forum of course---> http://www.mothering.com/discussions...play.php?f=312

 
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#4 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 01:16 PM
 
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yay! i've been waiting for this thread to appear. i haven't decided yet what i want to do. the only other time i've done 'the compact' was for one month. (the month of feb to be exact, because it's the shortest.)

i've been getting very thrifty and rarely buy 'new' but it's tempting to buy unnecessary things at the thrift store. we have so many great thrift stores where i live that i really can't justify buying something when i don't need it - because i will be able to find it when i do need it. i've made a good dent in my yarn stash (completing half-finished projects) but have sooooo much fabric i could burn through. i never go to the mall. i never go to barnes & noble anymore, and never browse at target (in & out!).

all that is to say, i think it will be a lot easier for me this time, but i'm not sure of what i want my commitment to be. ALL of 2010? my heart just started beating a little faster, lol . . .
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#5 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 01:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Danidama View Post
I can't stand buying anything new because the prices are just Ridiculous. And the sheer amount of resources wasted to make all this brand new crizzap makes me sick to think about. So it's very easy to not buy new when I think of where it all comes from.
yes, yes and yes. i'm wearing jeans right now that i got for 50 cents - i can't believe that i used to spend 50 DOLLARS on a pair of jeans. the resources, yes, and also 'where it all comes from' in terms of labor.

i love that thrifting teaches my boys that when we bring things home, we also let things go so they can find a new home. ds2 is too little to really grasp it but ds1 loves donating/decluttering so that other kids can have his toys.

i love that making things at home is so empowering to my boys. they believe dh and i can make anything. (i wish there was a smilie of a heart swelling up and bursting!)

weakness: actually, it's dh's weakness. dh is a music addict. i would really like him to get on board with buying used (or digital) and limiting his purchases to what he really, ahem, "needs". obviously, he's a grown-up and he can do as he chooses, but can anyone share experiences getting partners onboard?
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#6 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 01:47 PM
 
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how does this work out with holiday and birthday presents for kids? especially for the craft-ignorant folks.
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#7 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 02:37 PM
 
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buying used. buying an experience, like a class they want to take or a membership to a place they want to go. or you may decide that is one of your exceptions (but you could still make it compacty by buying handmade/local/trading your skills for a friend's).

do you choose to be craft-ignorant because you don't have a desire to be crafty, or is there something you'd like to learn to do? it's not just sewing or knitting. you could learn woodworking, leatherworking, pottery, beading, welding . . . i mean, i have a man-crafty friend who builds small electronics (mostly guitar effects pedals). anything you can think of that your kiddos would like, or that you see in a store and think, "holy hannah that is cool," you could figure out a way to make it.
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#8 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 03:38 PM
 
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What exactly is "the compact"?
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#9 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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Hi, SageR -

I totally can relate to regretting the stuff we buy even though it's "good" stuff. You asked for strategies, so some of the ones that work for me are:

-Telling myself that if I still want the thing I can buy it tomorrow. I almost always don't really still want it, or at least not enough to go to the store!

-We put money into our savings account pretty aggressively so that the money in our checking account really is for monthly expenses. This way I think of all those little extra things (Target especially!) as coming out of our savings account and it is almost never worth it to me. We are expecting a baby right now so that's what we're saving for, but before we have saved for a trip to Mexico, etc. It helps me to have a goal, but really I just feel better knowing I have a cushion in my savings account. I grew up poor!

-Always keeping a list of stuff I am looking out for at thrift stores (I have one friend in particular who we share these items and pick them up for each other if we find the item).

-Another thing that really helps me is to think about how my impulse to get the item RIGHT NOW OR ELSE IT WILL BE GONE TOMORROW (especially feels like this when thrifting) is just a poverty mentality and a belief that there aren't enough cool shirts/sweaters/jewelry/whatever available in the world. And I know that's not true.

-Also, I watched this documentary about Walmart that had footage of the living conditions of their international workers and that helps me to not want to buy cheap new stuff. The conditions were horrible and I don't want people to have to live that way just so I can buy cheap greeting cards, clothes, candles, etc.

Those are some things that work for me. What do other people do?
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#10 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 07:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lolar2 View Post
What exactly is "the compact"?
here is the original post on the blog:

http://sfcompact.blogspot.com/2006/0...esolution.html

the gist is to buy nothing new except absolute essentials and whatever else you decide your personal exceptions are going to be. even when buying "essentials" you are urged to stop and think whether you really need to rush out to target or whatever, or can you borrow, buy used, make your own, etc.

you'll see on that blog post (and on the rest of the blog) that there is more to it than that, and you may decide for yourself what is most important to you. like maybe you'd rather buy a new product from a local artisan than to buy used, because you really want to support the local economy. maybe you will decide your 'compact' involves how you do/get other things as well. i still have some thinking to do, myself, but plan to post my personal compact goals/ideals on the thread once i figure them out and i would be super excited to see everyone else's.
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#11 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 08:29 PM
 
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I'm really tempted to do it again. I did it in 2007 and managed to last most of that year.
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#12 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 08:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by doubledutch View Post
here is the original post on the blog:

http://sfcompact.blogspot.com/2006/0...esolution.html

the gist is to buy nothing new except absolute essentials and whatever else you decide your personal exceptions are going to be. even when buying "essentials" you are urged to stop and think whether you really need to rush out to target or whatever, or can you borrow, buy used, make your own, etc.

you'll see on that blog post (and on the rest of the blog) that there is more to it than that, and you may decide for yourself what is most important to you. like maybe you'd rather buy a new product from a local artisan than to buy used, because you really want to support the local economy. maybe you will decide your 'compact' involves how you do/get other things as well. i still have some thinking to do, myself, but plan to post my personal compact goals/ideals on the thread once i figure them out and i would be super excited to see everyone else's.
Thank you!
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#13 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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I'm totally in!! we have gradually been shifting our shopping habits to the direction of the compact but i would LOVE to try it full force.

Our exceptions:

underware, shoes (buy new but in limited quantities)
www.etsy.com for special gifts
photos..i love to frame them, look at them and scrapbook them (although i have enough...ahem...scrapbooking supplies to last way more than a year. haha)
consumables: food, toilitries, art supplies, tickets/passes (zoo, music class, pool etc.)
building materials (we are doing a lot of rennovation on our home) but buy the tools, and materials when possible, used or discarded like Hoods.

hmm...so many exceptions. should be a piece of cake. haha. for me, i just need to curb the shopping overall and limit the amount of stuff we own/keep.

amanda... lovin' my dh since 2004 and mama to dd (3), ds (18 months) and expecting someone new Oct 2010.
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#14 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 10:30 PM
 
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anyone know a lot about computers...my laptop is old (4.5 years) but still works well. I use it for email/internet access, simple word documents (recipes, addresses), family pictures. umm..thats it.

i would LOVE to simplify the programs like http://mnmlist.com/the-true-cost-of-stuff/ talks about in the blog. anyone know what windows - equilivents to the programs he recommends would be? TIA!1

amanda... lovin' my dh since 2004 and mama to dd (3), ds (18 months) and expecting someone new Oct 2010.
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#15 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 10:31 PM
 
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Oh I really want to do this next year! Drive-by posting so I am subbing real quick!

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#16 of 111 Old 12-18-2009, 10:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doubledutch View Post
here is the original post on the blog:

http://sfcompact.blogspot.com/2006/0...esolution.html

the gist is to buy nothing new except absolute essentials and whatever else you decide your personal exceptions are going to be. even when buying "essentials" you are urged to stop and think whether you really need to rush out to target or whatever, or can you borrow, buy used, make your own, etc.

you'll see on that blog post (and on the rest of the blog) that there is more to it than that, and you may decide for yourself what is most important to you. like maybe you'd rather buy a new product from a local artisan than to buy used, because you really want to support the local economy. maybe you will decide your 'compact' involves how you do/get other things as well. i still have some thinking to do, myself, but plan to post my personal compact goals/ideals on the thread once i figure them out and i would be super excited to see everyone else's.
Interesting idea.

I do this by default anyways, but I like the idea of being mindful about it. I am going to read along. I am sure it will be inspiring.

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#17 of 111 Old 12-19-2009, 12:51 AM
 
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buying used. buying an experience, like a class they want to take or a membership to a place they want to go. or you may decide that is one of your exceptions (but you could still make it compacty by buying handmade/local/trading your skills for a friend's).

do you choose to be craft-ignorant because you don't have a desire to be crafty, or is there something you'd like to learn to do? it's not just sewing or knitting. you could learn woodworking, leatherworking, pottery, beading, welding . . . i mean, i have a man-crafty friend who builds small electronics (mostly guitar effects pedals). anything you can think of that your kiddos would like, or that you see in a store and think, "holy hannah that is cool," you could figure out a way to make it.
thanks for the response. i think i'll have to decide on each present individually, and exempt consumables like art supplies.

i want to learn to be crafty (including sewing, knitting, crotcheting, canning, cooking , painting, sculpting). not much seems to stick but maybe i just need to practice something over and over. and. over.

for example, i've been a sahm for 4.5 years. so far, i can cook the heck out of breakfast. and, yes, i've been trying to learn to cook for that entire time. invariably, either the recipe tastes bad as posted to somebody in the family, i burn it, don't cook it enough, don't put enough seasoning, etc.

between my WAH PT job, trying to get a WAH business going, help husband with his new business, try to start homeschooling dd(4.5), declutter and pack up the house, as well as tend to any repairs so we can try to sell in the spring, and regular household stuff, i feel like there's no time to learn to do anything else. i already feel like i'm treading water.
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#18 of 111 Old 12-19-2009, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yay! I'm glad to see other people are interested.
It's nice to see some of your suggestions too - I already do a lot of them so I'm feeling better about my habits! I also appreciate the blog recommendation. I bookmarked "The true cost of stuff" and have read it a few times.

I was thinking more about the internet shopping and realized the simplest solution will be to just stay off the computer unless I need to do some work. Sooo...I'll check back in here and there to get/give support but I'm going to try to be internet free for awhile. Hope everyone enjoys (survives!) the holidays!

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#19 of 111 Old 12-19-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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This sounds interesting! Count me in.

belly.gifMama to a Little Scientist (09/08) and our Ray of Sunshine (05/11).
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#20 of 111 Old 12-19-2009, 06:01 PM
 
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Ooh! I'm in!

I have decluttered so much this year and I am not done because we are moving to a new rental home in 2 weeks. I feel like this is a great time to really plunge head first into compacting.

This year I have seriously utilized freecycle for everything from food to clothing to homeschooling supplies. For dd1 & 2 I managed to keep Christmas shopping under $100 bucks between the 2 of them because I either made their gifts, got them off of freecycle, or used on craigslist. That was a Christmas miracle, really it was.

One thing I am thinking about trying is going car-free. This is huge because I am moving from a place that was so rural that there really was no way to get anywhere with out a car to a town that has public transportation available. I'm going to park the car for a couple months and give the PT a whirl and if it works then I'd like to sell the vehicle and be done with it. The thought of not having a car is a little scary for me But i would walking more (maybe I can lose this mysterious 12 pounds that I've put on since the summer) and getting to know the local benefits a little better because we'd be close to home more.
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#21 of 111 Old 12-19-2009, 11:42 PM
 
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I think we're going to do this.

Ours will come with some caveats, though.

We love IKEA and we were planning on going soon (like next month) and the kids were really looking forward to it, too. So we might leave that one IKEA trip in.

Also we would allow Etsy purchases.

We are still ironing the kinks out. I'm kind of scared but excited.

The main thing is I have always looked forward to the day when I could afford to buy things like curtains and bedspreads from Target and IKEA so my house could be nicely decorated. Next year we would finally be able to afford that, but buying them used is hot or miss, buying them handmade is too expensiveness for us, and I can't really sew (plus it's more expensive to make it myself.)

Well, we're figuring it out. Whatever we do would be better than we did this year (or ever!)

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#22 of 111 Old 12-21-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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The main thing is I have always looked forward to the day when I could afford to buy things like curtains and bedspreads from Target and IKEA so my house could be nicely decorated.
hey, those are necessities! and by doing the compact, maybe 'the day' will come a little bit sooner. i thrifted our bedding and made our curtains, but there are things i buy that other people probably think is crazy for me to spend money on when i could make/do it myself. the thing is, every person is not good at (or not interested in) doing everything, and our time is a valuable resource too, so my thoughts are to just be gentle with yourself and do what makes sense for your family!
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#23 of 111 Old 12-21-2009, 02:53 PM
 
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Awww, thanks, doubledutch, that makes me feel much better!

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#24 of 111 Old 12-21-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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I think I need to try this again. I did it for the better part of a year a while back. I found living the compact gave me a great sense of purpose. I tend to shop when I am depressed, which is a lot because of unhappy life/living circumstances. I sometimes find if I try to focus on other things, I can become more creative and maybe this is just what I need to get more enjoyment out of life again.

A big problem is the kids as I find it hard to say no, especially around holidays . DH is also resistant to the idea in theory, but doesn't seem to mind in practice. We already live like this most of the time.

Another problem is I live in a poor area so thrift stores are heavily picked over by the vultures. I almost never find clothes for me second hand (I am very overweight) and shoes are a joke. I bought my first pair of boots recently because I was tired of sandals in the snow, lol!

So this will be interesting. I am also trying hard to eat locally so all these challenges should keep me busy, lol!
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#25 of 111 Old 12-21-2009, 05:35 PM
 
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I have always wanted to try this, but I have to admit I am a bit scared. I am going to think about my exceptions (hopefully keeping them to a minimum) and post them here before the end of the year.
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#26 of 111 Old 12-21-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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Hello!

I did a full compacting year in 2008, and have unofficially compacted since. I have to say, it was one of the best experiences of my life!

Here is my thread with the details of my year: http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...hlight=compact

I'm subbing, compacting, and cheering everyone on!

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#27 of 111 Old 12-22-2009, 12:53 PM
 
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Another problem is I live in a poor area so thrift stores are heavily picked over by the vultures. I almost never find clothes for me second hand (I am very overweight) and shoes are a joke. I bought my first pair of boots recently because I was tired of sandals in the snow, lol!
that would make me so sad! is there a certain brand of clothes you love and feel good in? you might be able to find it used online. i have a favorite pair of jeans - not just the brand but the cut/style - that i love because i always know they'll fit and look good. we don't even have that store anymore where i live, but i find them on ebay slightly used for $10.

now, the boots? boots are a necessity!
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#28 of 111 Old 12-22-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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Adding what I said in an update post, but think it makes sense to be listed in my intro post, since it explains my list of exceptions.

I won't do well with rules that say I can only buy this or that, I need more fluid principles to live by or I will flat out fail, so this is what I came up with:
(although it probably does not match up with the original definition of compacting)

Ultimately, my goal is to obtain what we are looking for mindfully and responsibly (repurpose, repair, do without, freecycle, craigslist, thrift stores, local stores, online, buy new).

When making purchases, choose long lasting quality items after researching the process of manufacturing, to be conscious of how us purchasing the item are affecting others and the environment.

Maintain our possessions at the level where we are happy taking care of the things we own, and are only spending our time managing the things we love or that helps our home function efficiently.

Because I am at the point where my house is pretty much decluttered of items we don't need/want/use, I am ready to shift my focus to creating a home, one carefully chosen item at a time. (Decorating plans: make curtains, braid rugs, grow plants, hang pictures, have quilt made).
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#29 of 111 Old 12-22-2009, 03:25 PM
 
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Subbing, thanks!

PT dentist, FT mom to DS 5.5, DD 2.5 and DS 1/29/10
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#30 of 111 Old 12-22-2009, 08:43 PM
 
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