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How to Organize Storage Bins (with FREE Printables!)

Time to organize storage bins full of Christmas and holiday decorations so they’re neat and tidy when you pull them out next year! Grab the free printables below to help get organized!

How to Organize Storage Bins After Christmas

So I realize that Christmas isn’t even over yet, but believe it or not, I’m already thinking about decorating for Christmas next year! I know that probably sounds premature, but I promise that there is a method to my madness! 😉

I’ve found that the more organized I am about putting my Christmas decorations away this year, the quicker and easier it will be to get them all out next year, so today I thought I’d give a quick rundown of how I organize storage bins to keep all of our holiday gear neat and tidy!

Organized pantry with decanted baking items, pasta, and spices

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How to Organize Christmas Storage Bins After the Holidays

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Step 1- Gather all of the holiday decor in one spot.

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I begin by collecting allllll of my Christmas stuff from around the house and putting it in one spot. It’s helpful to empty all of the bins so I can easily see everything that is there.

I like to start with a blank slate. It’s easier to see what you’re working with, nothing gets missed. And you can easily evaluate which storage vessels will work best for certain items. The downside is that your house looks like a bomb went off. 🙂

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Kind of crazy, right? And this was even before I had unpacked every single thing from the bins. Ugh!

Step 2- Purge, Purge, and Purge Some More

I love this part. 🙂 After everything has been set out, I start weeding out the things that are broken, missing pieces, out of date, or haven’t been used in a while. I either throw those things away or put them in the donate or sell piles. It’s a waste of space to store things that I’m never going to use again!

Step 3- Sort Items by Type

Once all of my junk is out of the way, I arrange everything into groups, putting like items together. This time I was doing my Christmas bins, so I put all of my ornaments in one section of the room…

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All of my mini trees in another spot…

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All of the ribbon in a separate pile, etc…

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Should I Organize Storage Bins by Item Type or by Room?

If you decorate the same way each year, “sorting by type” for you may mean putting all of the dining room decorations together, all of the living room decorations together, all of the kitchen decorations together, and so on.

If you change it up from year to year and decorate differently, you will want to sort by item type as I showed above– all ornaments together, all trees together, all ribbon together, etc.– so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

Whether you decide to group by category or by room, the goal is to try to put like items together. That way we can easily find what we need when we go to decorate next year.

Step 4- Match items with appropriate bins.

Once my items are grouped by type, it’s easy to tell what size bin I will need for each one. I have all of my outdoor decor in two bins, my mini trees in one bin, all of my pillows together in one bin, etc. (I used these bins and these bins to store my items.)

For ornaments, I sort the shatter resistant ornaments by color and put all of the metallic ornaments in one tub and all of the red ornaments in another tub. Just make sure you only do this with the plastic ones. Glass ones will break if you try to store them this way!

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For my fragile glass ornaments, I use divided bins so each ornament can have its own slot. These bins are great, but they can get pricey, so I only use them for my more fragile ornaments.

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I just use shoe boxes to store our family ornaments within a larger bin. This lets me keep ornaments separated by person, and it’s FREE!

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Step 5- Label!

My most favorite step ever! If you’re new to the blog, you’re finding out early– I’m slightly obsessed with labeling. I kind of can’t get enough of it. I printed out some cute tags on white card stock and wrote out the contents of each bin.

You can snag my cute tags too– just click on the photo below!

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Click here to download free printable bin labels!

[Side note: We actually have more than 65 types of free printables on the blog to help you get organized! You can see them all in our printables library!]

I like to run my labels through my handy dandy laminator (I have one similar to this one and love it.) so they’re a little more sturdy. Then I just cut them apart and stick them to my bins. Boom. Organized.

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If you don’t feel like you need a detailed contents list for each bin, a simple category label can work too. I have created labels using my Cricut cutting machine and adhesive vinyl for this purpose, and they have also been great.

Labeled Storage Bins in the Basement

Now everything is neatly organized and ready to go back into storage, and I will be thanking myself next year because I’ll easily be able to find everything I need! Woohoo!

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Step 6- Store Bins Neatly

Once you’ve sorted, decluttered, re-filled your bins, and labeled them in a way that makes sense to you, it’s time to pack them neatly away!

I’ve learned that if it’s possible, it’s easier to store bins on sturdy shelves rather than stacking them on top of one another.

Christmas Bins on a Shelf in the Basement

If bins are stacked on top of one another, if you need one of the bins on the bottom, you have to unstack everything, find what you need, and then re-stack it all, which can be a pain.

If the bins are on shelves, you just pull out the one you need, and easily replace it when you’re finished! (We use these shelving units and love them.)

Organized Holiday Decor Bins in a Basement on Shelving

That little bit of extra effort to get organized when we’re putting our Christmas decorations away this year will really pay off next year when decorating for the holidays is a breeze! Woohoo!

How do you keep all of your seasonal decor organized? I’d love to hear about your strategy in the comments below!

For more ideas for on how to organize storage bins, see these posts:

Organized Basement Tour

How to Organize Every Room of the House with Storage Bins

Top 10 Best Tool Storage Systems for Organizing Your Workshop

Free Printables Library at justagirlandherblog.com

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Have a wonderful week!

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

The photos below are from a previous version of this blog post.

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Home Organization, Storage Bins, Organized Bins, Free Printables, Organized Decorations, Christmas Decorations, Organized Holiday Decor
Home Organization, Storage Bins, Organized Bins, Free Printables, Organized Decorations, Christmas Decorations, Organized Holiday Decor
Home Organization, Storage Bins, Organized Bins, Free Printables, Organized Decorations, Christmas Decorations, Organized Holiday Decor
Home Organization, Storage Bins, Organized Bins, Free Printables, Organized Decorations, Christmas Decorations, Organized Holiday Decor

74 Comments

  1. Christy@Confessions of a Serial Do-it-Yourselfer says:

    I finally went through every single bin as well, purging what was broken, no longer used etc. I have about 10 more years worth of Christmas hoarding than you though, so my spaces really looked like a bomb went off! It’s a great way to organize. Love the printables. 🙂

    1. A Christmas bomb! Lol!

  2. Mandy Hank says:

    Yeah I was so excited to see the printables. I haven’t put our stuff away yet- these are perfect Abby:) Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Kendra @ www.joyinourhome.com says:

    You will love this when you pull it out later this year, Abby! I haven’t put ours away yet so these are just in time! Thanks Abby and happy Friday! 🙂

  4. Perfect! Thank you Abby! Just what I needed! I was saying to my friend last week that I really need to go through all my storage bins and actually note down what is inside them – most a sentimental items (that I do need to purge) because trying to find that ONE thing is a MISSION!! So thank you for inspiring me to get it done!

  5. Jeanette @ snazzylittlethings.com says:

    This is perfect timing and thanks for these labels. I will definitely use them, I’m gearing up for a craft room (which is really 1/2 of our storage area) makeover. It helps when moving things around to know what’s inside those bins. Is it strange that I want to get rid of my storage bins and buy ones that match? haha…again, thanks for the tips and for the link up!

  6. Krista @ the happy housie says:

    These bins and labels are awesome Abby- I love how you so clearly know what exactly is in each one! I bet your printables are going to be fabulous!!

  7. Sharon - Her Organized Chaos says:

    Great tips! I am obsessed with bins and baskets and crates… basically anything that makes organizing cute. Cute labels don’t hurt either! 😉 I would love it if you linked this up on my blog for Crafty Chaos Tuesdays. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I really need to get all of my stuff organized. The problem I have is no closets, a wet basement, and not a whole lot of other options! I tend to get rid of almost everything so that I don’t need to store it. With three kids, it seems like our stuff constantly multiplies though! The e-book looks awesome 😉

  9. Iridescent says:

    Great idea with the labels! I had thought of doing this a while back for my boutique items while I search for a new location. Thanks for the reminder! I will be replacing regular cardboard boxes with bins as I go. They protect from wetness. Water can be a double edged sword! Happy organizing everyone 🙂

  10. Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & Paint says:

    Love this idea, Abby! I have labels on my storage bins but I like that you can list what is actually in the bin. Thanks for sharing the printable.

  11. Lillace Christianson says:

    We’re about to experience the Christmas “bomb” effect this week, Lord willing. Thanks so much for the pretty labels, Abby! I’ll use them on my ebay storage bins also.

  12. I actually organized my Christmas bins like this over 10 years ago, but I took my organization one step further. I numbered/named each bin and created a “library” of the contents. This library is kept in a 3-ring binder. I do this because my bins (over 13 of them) are stored behind the wall in my loft area and are hard to get to. I place the binder on the bin nearest the entrance. Doing this keeps me from having to read every label on every bin.
    For example the Tree Decorations page in the binder looks like this;
    Tree Decorations (printed at the top)
    *Hallmark ornaments
    *Adrienne’s (my daughter) ornaments
    *Chandler (my son) ornaments
    *Keepsake ornaments
    *wooden garland
    *wooden candy canes
    *metal tree topper

    You get the idea. I do a separate page for each bin. I also put the year in the upper right corner..If I discard anything I just mark through it. I also have a page titled Discarded that lists each year what I discard. This is a running. list. Why a discard page? So when I start looking for that oversized tree-shaped coffee mug that I just know I would never get rid of, I have a record of where it is. I also have a page titled Purchase or Make by Next Year and it is exactly what it says it is. This page also is a running list with the year.

    1. That is efficiency x 10! It would certainly clear up the mystery of “Where did my tiny silver tree go?” and remembering 3 days later it was given to a daughter the year before when Christmas cleanup began. Also, no need to find room to store the binder that would ineveitably get lost because it was put in a “safe place” that ever evolves and causes me too many headaches and is always in so safe a place I can never remember where when I need it! I do find it helps in January, to write on my new calendar what is needed for next Christmas ( finish pillows, but more tape,tags—-YOU DO NOT NEED MORE WRAPPING PAPER!) as a note for November 1. Then, when I’m tempted with all the new Christmas goodies for sale, I don’t curse myself that I have 40 rolls of paper and no tape or tags!

  13. My labels usually come off too easy (my OCD brain can’t stand to see the curled up corners of the labels)…What specific tape or adhesive do you use?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Terry! I just used duct tape to attach these. When they are laminated, the duct tape has held up well for me. These are in our garage and aren’t messed with a lot. Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

      1. Christine Hubal says:

        After using the see thru bins and boxes for years and adhering labels to them, one day it occurred to me that I did not need the tape or adhesive. I now make those same labels, but now merely slide them down INSIDE the bin. It is visible, stays in place and if I ever decide to use that bin for something else, I do not have to deal with the removal and residual tape. Taking this storage process one step further, I like to take a photo of the contents before actually putting them inside (similar to your shot of everything in the living room. I like Kim’s idea of the binder and love your labels!

        1. justagirlabby says:

          Love these ideas! Thanks for sharing, Christine!

          ~Abby =)

        2. I like this idea of slipping the label inside because, as much as I like laminating, it just adds more eventual plastic pollution to the environment. Good idea.
          I also want to know the favorite for brand/type of storage bins. Of course I want quality at a bargain. I had picked up a bunch of clear bins and lids cheap and of course the lids don’t close securely!

  14. The printables are great! Thanks a lot! For a long time already I’ve been thinking to buy boxes and to organize my home! Thanks a lot! Greetings, Storage New Southgate Ltd.

  15. I finally did this when I retired and organized my garage! Mine is similar to Kim’s although I only print out the page that goes into a protector sheet – which gets placed on the end that is visible or on the top of the bin if it is a solid Xmas Red bin. I keep the original only on my computer. I collect Nativities, I have over 50, I also buy one ornament each year. Well 3 one for each of my two sons and one “family ornament”. All my bins are on the top row of shelves in my garage.

  16. I took the time to reorganization my Xmas bins this year too. Quite a task. I organized mine by room with another few bins for outdoor. lights. This year our calendar was so busy that I only had time to decorate the living room. I still had to go through so many bins to find what I needed, that I decided to reorganize my bins by room after Xmas. All of the bins are numbered and I keep a more comprehensive list of what is in each bin on an index card in my recipe file. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

  17. I am on the same page as your thought process only about 25 years ahead. Trust me when I say you are so going to be thankful in the future if you keep this up. The older you get the bigger your family gets and with age you inherit . Due to these things I have always had one box of: still love it but could live without it. The stuff you are on the shelf about.sometimes the next holiday season your priority of things has changed and you may delegate some of those things elsewhere, when my kids were little all of their ornaments collected for each holiday were placed in their keepsake holiday boxes. As they have gotten older and their-boxes have expanded they are labeled: babies first Christmas – age 3 ornaments and or 1981 – 1984 Christmas and their names. I love your color coding ideas and lines for details. Thanks for the printable .

  18. Donna Marie says:

    What I don’t understand is: Why don’t you (and others) alphabetize? It makes looking for things sooooo much simpler. You only have to look so far and “nope” it’s not in this container… I also just put Christmas in certain containers and put them together so I know where Christmas is and then label them.

  19. Alix @A Hedgehog in the Kitchen says:

    I love this sytem! We just went through that moment when you are unpacking and you realize everything is a big mess! Then you vow to yourself that you will be better organized when it’s time to put them away… Haha! I was planning to group like items together like you and am excited to use your labels to make everything nice and easy to find! Thanks! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay for organization! 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Alix!

      ~Abby =)

  20. Great system! I’ve got to be more intentional about gathering everything first because it never fails that I find a snowman or a dishtowel a few days after everything has been stored. Thanks for the labels!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! It really is difficult to make sure you collect everything around the house! So glad the labels are helpful, Misty! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  21. Maria @ Leisurely Does It says:

    For something that’s used once a year for just a few days, Christmas decorations can really take up a lot of space. It is really important to purge and organize them. I like to have a limited number of storage bins and space dedicated to storing them. Once those bins are full, that’s it! Glad to see you got yours organized.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So agree, Maria! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  22. Megan @ Adventure & Home says:

    I do the same thing — Every year I take out my Christmas ornaments and decor and reprimand myself for not taking the time to organize them the year before! I definitely have to invest in some clear bins, though. Right now everything is in old paper boxes from where my mom used to work before she retired that she gave me when I moved. I know I have boxes in the attic I didn’t even pull out this year, too. Definitely time for a purge! 🙂 Thanks for another great post and Happy New Year, Abby!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Megan! Hope you’re having a wonderful start to 2017!

      ~Abby =)

  23. I’m finally getting to those storage bins. I am a little late as usual.
    But I like to keep on the Christmas tree lights as long as possible. Thank you so much
    for the labels! I really needed something pretty!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad they will be helpful for you, Barbara! <3

      ~Abby =)

  24. Abby-I did this a few years ago. Problem is that I store the bins in the attic. I sadly watch as the labels fall off them!. It might take a year but due to the surface of the plastic bins and the weather changing (?) the taped labels fall off. I didn’t even laminate the labels-I know plastic and laminated labels are hard to keep stuck together.
    Any ideas?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      On reader suggested using clear bins and just sticking a piece of paper on the inside facing out so you can see it! Maybe not ideal, but it would work! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  25. Tami Hernandez says:

    Cant wait to get this done!
    Thoughts of my basement stress me all day long!!!
    But i am working on it little by little

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Glad this will be helpful for you, Tami! 🙂 Hope you’re having an awesome week!

      ~Abby =)

  26. I typically use the clear plastic bins & organize by room for my Christmas things. This year was a time nightmare & I only put out about 1/2 of my decorations. I still have not tackled putting all away, but your suggestion for how to purge is an excellent one. Some things didn’t even come out this year so very likely they can move on. I have put the labels inside the box facing ou for years, (under the stairs,) but had not thought to laminate them. (I have a “forgotten” laminator for up to 11×17 sheets.) That will allow me to use a wax china marker or dry erase marker to add or delete notes each year!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes! Great idea!

      ~Abby =)

  27. Courtney A. Casto says:

    I think I only have two bins of Christmas decorations but they are full of Ziploc bags that are not organized. I like your idea of divided bins so ornaments can have their own place to stay. I found a few broken ornaments when I unloaded my ornaments this year so I need to make some adjustments when I put them away this year. Great suggestions!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful, Courtney! Hope you had a great Christmas! <3

      ~Abby =)

  28. Linda Mallick says:

    Thank you. This is going to be so much help as I get ready to pack and purge over 50 years of Christmas decorations. Love the ideas you have shared.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you, Linda! Hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday!! <3

      ~Abby =)

  29. Sherri Donley says:

    I love getting your emails with organization tips! You are always so helpful! Thanks so much! Here’s to an organized new year!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad they have been helpful for you, Sherri! Happy New Year! <3

      ~Abby =)

  30. Glad I’m not the only one who “spring cleans” at other times of the year. I do a pretty massive purge between Halloween and Thanksgiving to make room for any new items we might be acquiring over the holiday season. I don’t like to start my new year with a house full of clutter and it has taught my kids a good lesson about giving. You have more Christmas bins than I have stuff lol. Can’t wait until I build my dream home so I can go all out decorating. I know just where to find some inspiration 😉

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes! I love starting the year completely clean and clutter free! 🙂 Hope you’re having a great start to 2018, Deanna! <3

  31. Melissa Andrews says:

    Abby,
    What kind of paper cutter are you using? You made it look so quick and easy! Love the laminated tags!

  32. Robin Langston-Jones says:

    Abby, Your tips are really helping me in our move to our smaller retirement home. One question though, what kind of printer are you using for your labels and do you use the same printer for photos?

  33. Once I figure what I want to use to decorate, I very rarely change it. I organize my bins by room or surface. I buy modular bins so they stack well even though I have various sizes. I take a simple picture of the decoration and then place that in the box. That way, if I have help decorating, it’s just a matter of taking the bin with the centerpiece I use on my coffee table and consulting the picture to know how to arrange it. It allows me to decorate as I’m able, and doesn’t have to involve pulling out all bins. I also adhere my labels inside the box with packing tape.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Wow! Love this system, Tonya! So organized!

      ~Abby =)

  34. Joan McCormick says:

    I organize my storage bins by room. All living room items in specified bins, all dining room items in specific bins, etc. I bring out the bins only for the room I’m decorating so I don’t have a totally disorganized mess everywhere. My trees are fake so keep them assembled and cover them with those big yellow plastic tree bags and store them, on a pallet, in a corner of my garage. So much easier than have to completely fluff them each year.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Love these ideas, Joan! Sounds like you have a great system! Hope the new year is off to a wonderful start for you! <3

      ~Abby =)

  35. I use a LOT of garland. When I sore mine, I box them by areas. The next year, I know the exact length to do the stairs and banister will be in the “foyer”box. All the mantle goes in the “mantle” box. The rest I group by type as you do. 🙂 I have loved your blog and printables for a while now. You have so many great (and pretty) ideas!

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      So glad they have been helpful for you, Jenny! Sounds like you are quite organized yourself… two peas in a pod! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  36. I have been purging Christmas stuff each year for5 years. I forgot I had been doing this. So this year I asked my husband to bring up all the Christmas stuff. . He did. I was surprised how little I had. I was very excited. I did a little or even purging and I am good to go! Only 2 boxes of “good” glass ornaments and only the ones that have a history.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Woohoo! It feels so good to just have LESS, doesn’t it? 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  37. Sherry Hoyt-Cline says:

    Thank you Abby for the reminder that I need to buy 3 clear containers before I take down the decorations this year. I purged when we moved to Las Vegas 2 years ago, so we only had things we loved and would use in the new house. Like Tonya, I took pictures of each room after decorating last year, so it was easy to put everything where it was unless I changed my mind (a few items shifted). The prior owner built shelving all across the sides and back of the garage which was perfect for storage. At 73 yrs old, I needed to ask a younger person to lift them up for me last year and down this year. Will ty to find a different person for 2020, so as not to wear out my requesting (although cookies help).

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Sounds like you have a great system! So great that you already had shelves for storage in the garage… huge win!

      ~Abby =)

  38. LMI Sports says:

    After using the see thru bins and boxes for years and adhering labels to them, one day it occurred to me that I did not need the tape or adhesive. I now make those same labels, but now merely slide them down INSIDE the bin. It is visible, stays in place and if I ever decide to use that bin for something else, I do not have to deal with the removal and residual tape. Taking this storage process one step further, I like to take a photo of the contents before actually putting them inside (similar to your shot of everything in the living room. I like Kim’s idea of the binder and love your labels!

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      LOVE this idea! Thanks so much for sharing! <3

      ~Abby =)

  39. at home with Ashley says:

    Yes! I love knowing where everything is. It makes Christmas a little less crazy. Thanks for the video!

  40. Catherine says:

    So smart! I desperately need to do this this year when we put everything away. I started labeling bins last year but they’re never as cute as yours! 🙂

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      As long as they’re effective, that’s all that matters! 🙂 Hope 2020 is off to a great start for you, Catherine!

      ~Abby =)

  41. Thank you Abby I needed to read this post….Hoping this week to put all my Christmas décor away. As I read through the comments I thought of the label pockets as my label insert to add to my bins. Since it has a pocket I can insert the labels and I will be able to change as needed. I found them at Target dollar spot….Thank you for the labels perfect timing! I also need to organize my gift wrap items. Have a great week everyone and happy organizing!

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      So glad they were helpful for you, Elda! Hope 2021 is off to a wonderful start for you!

      ~Abby =)

  42. This post reminded me to clean up after Christmas. I have this habit of hoarding things but this time I have promised myself to give away extra stuff in charity or to needy.

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      So glad it was helpful for you! Have an awesome week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  43. This is super helpful! I did do labels last year, and they made a huge difference finding things this year, but they got destroyed taking things out and I am likely going to slightly change where things are being stored. So I am going to laminate them BEFORE I write contents on them, then use a sharpie. The beauty of this is they are more durable, plus use some rubbing alcohol and it removes the sharpie, so things can be changed as needed. Means they last for years, less printer ink, and no tearing. Most of my challenge this year is storing the fragile glass ornaments I inherited from my grandparents. Some of those ornaments were given to them by their parents, which puts them at 100+ years old. And there are alot of them!

    1. Abby Lawson says:

      Yay! So glad it will be helpful for you. Laminating is a great solution!

      Have an awesome week! <3

      ~Abby =)

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