Contentment with my tiny house - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-14-2006, 03:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I struggle so much with my little house. It was all we could afford so it's not like w e purposeley chose this 800square foot home. It is cute- and there are good things like it's not old, it's in good shape- the locatiion is good, etc.

In many ways I like having a small house because I get to be snarky about not having a big ole house like most of America- I get t participate in that sort of self righteous snobbery.

But I worry sometimes that maybe we should have more?

Here's the deal:

We have two bedrooms- one is an addition built over a deck without a closet and barely any insulation. This is the kids room- it's cold in Winter and hot in summer. Also the kids dotn like it because of the door to the outside right there- they get scared.

My other complaint (whining) is that we have no place to hang a coat or put our backpacks down. The downstairs is just one room, essentially- the kitchen and living room alltogether- about 300 square feet. No entryway, no coat closet. Thee is a bathroom downstairs and the kids room is off the kitchen.

Upstairs is our bedroom which is cute and we have almost no complaints about.

We are trying to simplify and be content with the house we have but it's SO HARD. My mom drills and drills into me that we need to add on or buy anothr house, but it was so hard for us to get into this one!

If I LOVED the property that'd be one thing, but we live in a rural town and yet are in one of the few neighborhood where there are 1 acre parcels- we can see our neighbors - I'd prefer to be in town in a historical home or out in the woods. And I'd like it to be flat so we could garden better, or the kids could play more easily.

Ugh...I hate being like this- I want to be satisfied but it's so hard not to think of other possibilites!

Are we being just being stupid and stubborn for staying and trying to be happy with it? Or are we doing the right thing by tryign to love the house we have?

When is small too small?
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3.../tinyhouse.jpg
Here it is- it's a lot junkier now- this is when we first moved in.
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Old 10-14-2006, 05:15 AM
 
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I don't have any advice, but wanted to give you a and tell you that I just showed my mom your picture and she is totally in love with your house. She said she could totally see herself in something like that and she's jealous!
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Old 10-14-2006, 10:37 AM
 
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Your house is adorable!

Gardening...can you do container gardening, instead of a regular garden?

Coats and backpacks...we have a coat rack on the wall where we hang our coats we are using. Even though we have space to put backpacks in a closet somewhere out of sight, ds#1 and ds#2 leave theirs in our living room most of the time! It's just easier access when it's time to head for school.

The outside door in your kids room that is scarey to them...could you put a very big deadbolt on it and explain how safe that is or seal up the door?

If you stay, you might want to insulate their room so it is more comfortable year round.

I don't know...I've moved a LOT and there has never been a perfect place. Some I have liked more than others, but each house, each yard, each town had good things and not so good things.

If you think you can be happy there stay. If not, try to find something more in line with your needs. Not neccessarily so much bigger, but yard-wise, privacy-wise, etc.

And if you feel your family needs a bit more space, then you need it. Not everyone is happy in small houses. I like them, but my dh does not...at all. He feels all cramped and like he has no privacy. Then he gets grouchy.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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Old 10-14-2006, 10:55 AM
 
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P.S. By a bit more space, I don't mean like a huuuge amount. You know, just enough to use and feel comfy.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Plato
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Old 10-14-2006, 11:28 AM
 
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How about switching bedrooms so the kids have the insulated and less scary one? For the coats, can you do a coat hanger thingie on the wall (whatever they are called)?
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Old 10-14-2006, 11:49 AM
 
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i struggle with this too...
we all live in an apartment, 2 calling it a two bedroom is a stretch. the rooms are so small that in our room it literally contains the bed and a small dresser squished in at the end. you can barely open the drawers. there is a livingroom, a wide hallway room that my husband has his desk in, a bathroom. then there is another really small room that my 7yr old has. it has a loft bed (we like to use our vertical space, since we have tall ceelings. my 5yr old has a loft built over our bed and the little two sleep in bed with us. then there is the kitchen, not that big either. there is one very inecessable closet in the whole apt. BUT... we are content because dh is a full time student, rent is $450, we are out of dept and spend very little money ever. we make just enough. we save our tax return every year and that is what we use for surprises- car repair, etc...

BTW, i think your house is really cute.
i often dream about a house instead of an apt...maybe someday...
anyway, i hear you.
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Old 10-14-2006, 11:55 AM
 
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Greetings...first, I also think your house is super cute Regarding the coat problem. We didn't have one in our big house, and we don't have one in our apt either. Some solutions...get a small wardrobe, put up hooks, use baskets, or a tupperware-type drawer tower.

Also, is it possible that because your mom "drills into you" the idea the you need a new/bigger place....that you are having a hard time being content? How is your relationship with her? Are you able to listen to her, but still decide to be content? Can you tell her to get off your back!? Just because someone else (even someone you respect) thinks you need to do something, doesn't mean you have to take it to heart.

Add insulation or space heaters/window airconditioner to the kids room. Can you hang a blanket or tapestry over the door so it doesn't look like a door? And deadbolt it?

I agree with the PP that no place is perfect...if the things you mentioned are truly making you insane, then you should move. But if you can work on those few things...disregard others' opinions...spruce it up in other areas so you love it even more...then stay

You might go read Apartment Therapy...even though it's for "apartments"...they have fabulous ideas, and a step by step program for loving the place you live.

Sara ::: Mama to Bella Grace & Lucy Mae Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. 1 Peter 3:4
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Old 10-14-2006, 12:09 PM
 
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aww..you really sound frustrated! Your house is soooo adorable! Looks so coozy!

What about an over the door coat hanger for the front door? What about putting a piece of furniture in front of the door in the kids room? Check out IKEA.com they have some amazing space saving ideas and gadgets, they might have something that will work perfectly.

Good luck!
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Old 10-14-2006, 12:30 PM
 
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We are in old England UK and only have 360 sq ft. We are now six in our tiny house and our neighbours are scandalised!

The house isn't adorable in the way that yours is unfortunately, we have one small front room and what we like to call an 'eat in' kitchen at the back. Upstairs are two bedrooms and a bathroom with one bedroom being really tiny.

My ideal for our house would be lots of hig level shelving all arond the top if eac room. Our walls are not solid so not strong enough to do it though. Could you do something like that then have pegs for coats underneath with open shelves lower down for shoes and bags? Im thinking of the Shaker style.

I know what you mean about being satisfied; I tell myself that space is in my head. We don't take up that much room when we are all sleeping and even when we are awake were not all at home all day. Dh is in and out, ds1 and ds2 are at school, dd1 is sometimes at pre school or out with dh, sometimes its just me and the baby or the house is empty. What takes up room is our stuff and having less then storing the rest 'smart' is what I'm aiming for now.

I console myself that our footprint on the planet is small, our bills and taxes are low, the house is easy to heat in winter although double glazing would be nice and we are close to parkland and meadows by the riverside so having a small garden is not such a problem.

We have 2 sheds outside as storage for tools, bikes and grubby stuff.

Here's our front room from the kitchen when we had new flooring laid. I wish we could keep it like that! We have a two seater sofa to the left of the doorway, a tall bookshelf to the right and a pine blanket box full of toys which doubles as extra seating as well as the furniture you see in the picture.
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Old 10-14-2006, 12:35 PM
 
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I don't have any advice for you, but particularly as an apartment dweller, I have to tell you I just love your beautiful little house!
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Old 10-14-2006, 01:50 PM
 
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Mine is a bit bigger (1200 sq ft) but I also have no place to hang coats and no foyer or hall. I'm doing hooks on the wall and open shelves for shoes. The backpacks I just leave on the floor. It's not ideal but it works.

I looked at other houses "just for fun" and I've come to the conclusion that we can't afford to move. House prices have gone up in our town. We used to have a rental house. 5 years ago it sold for 40,00, now it's selling for 98,000 and trust me, nothing has been done to that house. No guarantee that it will sell but still.

I agree that the "perfect" house is hard to find. I like a lot about our house and it was all that we can afford. I don't think we can afford to move so I'm thinking what I can do to make my house more what we want.
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Old 10-14-2006, 01:55 PM
 
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Wow, what I"d give to have a place that big! We live in 650sq. ft.

I visited a friend who lives on a ship. If their family of 3 can live in less than 300sq ft, then I can be happier with bigger than that.

We put in lots of shelving. Every bit of furniture has storage on it somehow.

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Mama to love.gif DD (9yr), DS luxlove.gif (3yr), & 2twins.gif UC twin DDs (5yr)

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Old 10-14-2006, 01:56 PM
 
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Oh, your house is sooo cute! Wanna trade?

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Old 10-14-2006, 04:02 PM
 
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OMG I am sooo in love with your house, it is just adorable!!!! Awwwww sooo cute!
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:40 PM
 
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I agree, your house is wicked cute! Here is a pic of ours (rented, 513 sq ft):

http://www.ghosts.org/annika/2002/home.jpg

We don't have any closets, so we have hooks on the backs of the doors in the kids' rooms and we hang the coats there. I think covering the door in the kids' room is a great idea. If it's covered like that with a curtain and maybe a piece of furniture in front of the door, they will probably not be so scared of it.

Orangefoot, 360 sq ft! I'm impressed! Your room with the new flooring looks really cool. I would love to do the high shelving too but our walls really stink. Oh well.
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Old 10-15-2006, 01:33 AM
 
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That is a beautiful and classy-looking little house! I'm a little envious now... we live in less than 700 sq. ft. in the basement of my parents' house. If they kicked us out, we would not be able to afford anything else in the whole area. We try not to piss them off or anything.

I'd say to install some wall hooks for the coats, hang up some pretty quilts around the un-insulated bedroom (they provide insulation), including over the outside door that they find so scary.

I've read about some people who put a small bookcase beside the door, to use as a "launch pad" -- that's where they put their backpacks and things they have to grab as they go out the door. Would this work for you? maybe with a separate cubby for each child's stuff?

Your house is adorable; I don't blame you for wanting to find some way to make it work for you. I especially love the front porch with the bench on it. And 1-acre parcels of land sounds delicious! It's got enough room for what you need, but not too much to take care of! We have the run of the backyard, but we have to clear everything with my parents who own the property... everything from where to put the kiddie pool to where we should park the cars.

First thing you gotta do, though, is tell your mum to stop telling you to add on or move. Sounds as if she's contributing quite a bit to your feeling of discontentment. Second thing is optional, depending on your religion: you might simply try praying for contentment about your house. Third thing is to remember that there's a ton of us right here on this thread who are eaten up with house envy for your house! We consider you lucky to live in such a delightful little house, and wouldn't mind moving into it ourselves. (Probably not all of us at once, though; it might get crowded)

Oh, one more thing: you said that the house was "junkier" now. Might it help your sense of contentment to simply clean and fix it up a bit? Maybe redo a room, or plant a flower garden or something? If you put more of your "self" into it, I'm betting you'll come to appreciate it more.

Finding space and peace of mind, right where you are. Knowing that the less you own, the more control you have.
Realizing that less is not more, because you don't want more. You have too much already.  Less is best!                              www.lessisbest.net
    ...
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Old 10-15-2006, 01:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conteuse View Post
(Probably not all of us at once, though; it might get crowded)
But wouldn't it be fun if we could? All of us crazed, decluttering, simplying, contentment-seeking mamas in one place? Crazy.

Sara ::: Mama to Bella Grace & Lucy Mae Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. 1 Peter 3:4
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Old 10-15-2006, 02:20 AM
 
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We have lived in small apartments for the last 10 years. BTW I love your house it is sooo super cute. I am wondering if you have ever watched the show on cable that showcases small inovative solutions for tight spaces? They do so many neat things like have their house designed in such a way that things do double or triple duty? I am one of those empassioned people that love this as an idea. Fortunately my husband has a few power tools and can make some basic cabnets furniture etc. I also am a freak about things doing more than one thing. My husband teases me about it all the time. For example

A kitchen bar that is also a table
a shoe rack that is also a window seat.
my new one is a laundry unit that is also a cutting board.
A futon for a couch that is a spare bed
an old laptop instead of a desktop to save space.
a kids table with storage in it.
closets that have clothes we only wear in them.
On one show I saw a couch that had lift up storage underneath.
homemade duvets with a blanket stuffed in them rather than sheets for less laundry


You might want to have a look at those possibilities. Be creative. If your DH isn't handy look for solutions that you can modify from the hardware store of from thrift stores or handme downs. I suggest this because any thing you do that way will be far less than a bigger house payment. You could cruise organiser stores online to get inspiraton etc.

as far as a shoe area with coats what about a bench that has a rack above it and a shoe tree by it. That is what all my chinese friends do as it keeps their house clean. also you could just put a super good lock on the door your kids are in and show them that it is breakin proof to reasure them.
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Old 10-15-2006, 01:01 PM
 
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Just wanted to say I'm so jealous of your little house! I grew up in the country but have lived in apartments the last 5 years. Hate it. Right now, I live in a big block facing another big block. Between the 50 kids who play outside and will holler and scream (ok, that's not *bad*) to when they holler "Mom!...Mom!...Mom!..." for 5 mins straight. To the fat ugly naked guy who sits on his balcony all day long, to the dog the fat ugly naked guy had to have that barks all the time, to the college kids who party till dawn, to the young couples TTC. Let's just say it gets noisy around here! I'd rather have a couple neighbours than 50+. And it's not like I live in the slums or anything. This is a "nice" neighbourhood. Trees, grass, college town/bedroom community. :
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Old 10-15-2006, 01:32 PM
 
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I was so happy to see this thread.Thank you for reminding me to value and appreciate what I have. It put things into perspective for me. Most of the time I'm happy. It's in a nice area, has tons of potential, good schools, affordable. But, we have a serious clutter issue. It's not the houses fault it's something we really need to work on and appreciate what we have.
We are a family of 6, we have 3 nice size bedrooms and 1700 sq. ft. Most of my friends live in a much larger space and it's very easy to feel deprived when you go over to your friends 3000+ home, but living here allows us to have the life we do, I can stay home with our children, indulge in our hobbies and get the little extras for my children.
Oh, and I think your home is lovely mama!

Sabrina , mom to 4 fab kids!

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Old 10-15-2006, 03:41 PM
 
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A cute little place! You could glass-in or screen-in the front porch, if you wanted a place to hang the coats.

You can also build a little 12 x 12 or 15 x 15 shed on the the hill behind, if the zoning will allow it. The shed becomes the kids play area/project area, with a cute patio next to it. And with some insulation it could be a guest room! The cost of the shed, even if on a slope, will be much less than the cost of moving!
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Old 10-15-2006, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, cool! I am a buzz of new ideas...

My mother is hugely influential in my discontent. I love her- but she is never ever content- and I think I've definelty inherited it.

We are thinking of either swithing rooms with the kids or building their bed "cubbies" in the walls or the upstairs bedroom (as mentioned in the Do Kids need Bed? thread).

We could also enclose our porch and make a mudroom. Which I have ALWAYS wanted.

I DO NOT WANT TO SELL and get a bigger house- and I"m questioning my argument about our property not being good enough. I believe in God- and I know he will make it known if we are supposed to have something else. (because there is NO way we could afford to move at all)

I'm loving this site right now!

Keep the ideas coming! I think they're helping everyone!
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Old 10-15-2006, 04:38 PM
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I too think its very cute. We 4 (DH, me, 2 DSs, cat and dog) live in a 550 sqf little duplex. We have absolutely no storage either.

I think enclosing your front porch would be a great idea!!! Think of all the storage area
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Old 10-15-2006, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Heres some pix of my house on the inside- now, keep in mind I did NOTHING before taking these- so, my apologies for the mess.

Heres the family room/living room (whatever!):
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e/DSC02258.jpg
We have a sectional, and thats it! Our TV is mounted on the wall you can't see (not a flatscreen, just a little tv)- there is also a bathroom right there and our "office":
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e/DSC02261.jpg
Next is the other side of the house- the kitchen (a total mess right now, but you get the idea)
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e/DSC02259.jpg
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e/DSC02260.jpg
I just LOVE it when dh uses the barstools by the island as his hamper.(sarcasm- in case you didnt pick it up)
Here's our room- it's laundry day- the bed is strip and our hamper overfloweth. Note the gratuitous amount of books and musical instruments on the floor next to the bed. Very chic- very Feng Shui
http://i50.photobucket.com/albums/f3...e/DSC02263.jpg
I forgot to upload the kids room. Oh well- picture a loft bed with alot of junk around it.
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Old 10-15-2006, 10:48 PM
 
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I just wanted to tell you that I LOVE the wall colors in your house. Especially the green in the living room. I so wish DH would let me use colors like that in our house. Instead we've got a medium tan color (similar to your bedroom) throughout the entire 1st floor (he did allow a light blue for the bedrooms). I like to call it "Chocolate Milk Brown". It's nice, but not fantastic like your green!

And I just wanted to encourage you. I see a lot of potential in your little house. I'd love to give suggestions, but I've always stuggled with my own clutter. I'm trying to get it more under control every day! baby steps... baby steps... LOL!
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Old 10-15-2006, 11:40 PM
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I love how you have turned what used to be a closet? into an office! It is very very very cute! I love it, tons of potential!
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:11 AM
 
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Your house is even more adorable on the inside than on the outside. I love the pointed ceiling in the bedroom and what you've done with your closet/computer area. The kitchen looks cool too. So much potential there!
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:26 AM
 
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Well, I have a re-decoration idea for your master bedroom! Basically, built-in shelves on the wall with the window. With doors on the lower part of the shelves, you can store clothing out of site. And having a tall vertical element in the room will emphasize the height... homefully!

See my rendering here: http://www.ihateticks.com/home_decor.html

-SLEEPLESSmOMMY
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:27 AM
 
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Your place is adorable! It looks like your kitchen is a nice size for the size of your house. My house is pretty small, too (960 sq.ft.) and I find that when it's picked up and put together, I feel a lot more gentle toward it!! Decluttering is making a big difference for me. I just don't have room to store any extra junk. You probably feel the same way.

Could you put a row of hooks for coats and backpacks just inside the door? A shoe rack underneath could be another welcome addition.

How about adding insulation for the kids' room? It's a pretty easy DIY project and would make their area more comfortable.
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:03 AM
 
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Add me to the small house club! We have 965 glorious square feet which includes our garage. Three bedrooms, three kids, over 100 pounds of dog (2) and too much stuff. I am in the de-clutter process and hope to be done some day.

While I would love a bigger house I find peace that I am not adding to the increased urbanization of my area by buying a cookie cutter home. I also like the face that I always know where the mortgage payment is coming from because we are not over extended.
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