30 Tips for Living Large in a Small Space

By R.P. Hogan
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Photo Courtesy: Gabriel Beaudry/Unsplash

A small living space can still be stylish. All you need are the perfect products and accessories to liven up your studio or one-bedroom apartment, while maximizing your space. Of course, efficiency and comfort are important as well, and don’t worry — we haven’t forgotten your tiny kitchen and bathroom. Here are 30 products that will help you live large in your small space.

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Get Creative with Storage Space in Your Bedroom

DuraCasa Bed Risers

If you don’t have a lot of closet space, you can always put things under your bed — unless, of course, your frame sits too low to the floor. If that’s the case, it’s time to place DuraCasa’s bed risers under the legs to gain an additional boost of 3 inches of space for boxes, suitcases and anything else you want to keep hidden away. The risers are built to hold up to 2,000 pounds distributed across your bed.

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"This is exactly what I was looking for," says one satisfied Amazon customer. Others praise the risers as "sturdy" and "nice and thick and strong." Something worth noting: A few people say the risers don’t always stay put on hardwood floors.

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Don’t Just Throw Everything Under the Bed

storageLAB Under Bed Shoe Storage Organizer

StorageLAB’s shoe organizer can help you keep shoes tucked away in an orderly fashion. With two of these containers, you can pack up to 24 pairs of shoes and adjust the size of the compartments to accommodate larger shoes or shoes with long heels. This handy organizer is also great for scarves, gloves and numerous other things.

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"I wanted something that looks good and keeps its shape," says one reviewer. The firm siding on these containers ensures they hold their form, and handles make it easy to pull the unit out from under the bed. The clear zippered top allows you to easily find the shoes you want. "An A++ for design!" raves another happy owner.

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When You Don’t Have Room for a Nightstand

Sauder 401294 Orchard Hills Full/Queen Bookcase Headboard

Sauder’s Orchard Hills bookcase headboard fits a queen-size bed frame snugly or leaves a bit of space on each side for a full. Constructed of "very sturdy" particle board, the headboard attaches directly to the rails of your frame, providing additional stability while taking up minimum floor space.

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It arrives unassembled, and although reviewers say it is "easy to put together," many also mentioned that the package is quite heavy and hard to move from the front door to the bedroom. Once the headboard is put together, however, you have plenty of room for an alarm clock, reading lamp, a stash of books (or a reading device) and stuffed animals or room decor.

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The Extra Fancy Bed Storage Space Solution

DHP Dakota Upholstered Platform Bed with Storage Drawers

If throwing boxes under a regular bed frame feels too basic, take a look at the Dakota platform bed with drawers from DHP. It sits on an elegant frame, with an upholstered headboard and two drawers on each side, allowing you to store just about anything in an orderly, efficient manner.

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"We were concerned about the sturdiness," one reviewer admits, "but were quickly relieved once the bed was tested." Others praise the easy-to-follow assembly instructions, and one reviewer is particularly fond of the time it saves on cleaning, noting, "There’s no space under the beds for dust bunnies to gather."

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A Small but Powerful Vacuum Cleaner

VonHaus 2-in-1 Stick & Handheld Vacuum Cleaner

The 2-in-1 vacuum cleaner from VonHaus is "not much larger than a broom," but it has more than enough power to keep your entire place clean. You can go over all your floors, just like any other vacuum cleaner, or you can remove the floor vacuum head to turn it into a handheld for cleaning furniture and spills on tables and countertops. When you’re finished, just detach the container and throw away the dust and debris.

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"I can't believe how good the suction is on this little vacuum," says one buyer. Other owners are delighted with its light weight and small size for easy storage. Several, however, suggest the filters need to be cleaned more frequently than the once-a-month routine VonHaus recommends.

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A Classic Modern Storage Solution

MISSLO Over the Door Shoe Organizer

Over the door shoe organizers like the one from MISSLO have become classic features in modern home storage design — so simple and obvious, once you think about it. Of course, many people use them for more than shoes. "I have one in my linen closet that I use for medicines, lotions, extra toothpaste, special hair creams — you name it," one reviewer reports. "I've gained an entire shelf for towels."

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The organizer is "easy to hang," with four metal hooks that fit most standard-sized doors. Once in place, "It doesn’t slip or slide around," and the 24 large mesh pockets can hold 12 pairs of shoes easily — more if the shoes happen to be sandals!

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Keep Your Drawers in Order

Simple Houseware Underwear Organizer Drawers – 4 Piece Set

"No matter how neatly I fold my bras and underwear," one reviewer complains, "they always seem to become a big jumble in the drawer." The solution? Simple Houseware’s organizer set comes with four cases designed to hold ties, scarves, underwear, bras or socks in individual compartments, allowing you to easily spot items at a glance.

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No more losing a favorite pair of socks in the back of the drawer, where it could stay buried indefinitely. "My only complaint," one reviewer says, "is that I would like to be able to get another 24-compartment organizer without having to buy the whole set."

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Create Shelf Space in Your Closet

Simple Houseware 5-Shelf Hanging Closet Organizer

The hanging closet organizer from Simple Houseware is "easy to set up and super lightweight, but extremely durable," according to a satisfied buyer. When hung on the clothing rod in your closet, the fabric drops down to reveal five shelves, with an extra three pockets on each side.

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You can put a lot of weight on the shelves, including jeans, sweaters, bath towels, bed sheets and pillow covers. (The lower compartments can even hold heavy boots.) This organizer is "the hardiest I've seen," says one reviewer, adding, "It does not strain at all."

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Store All Your Jewelry in One Place

AOOU Jewelry Organizer Cabinet and Mirror

Are you constantly hunting through several different boxes on top of your dresser to find the necklace or pair of earrings you need to match an outfit? Maybe you need AOOU’s jewelry cabinet and dressing mirror combo. The full-length mirror on the front opens to reveal enough storage space (including hooks) for just about any jewelry collection, with additional shelves for makeup and perfume.

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"It is made well, very sturdy and hangs very neatly on my closet door," one reviewer says. (It can be wall-mounted as well.) Magnets keep the door securely shut, and a set of blue LED lights along the top light up when the door opens, making it easy to find what you need.

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Take All the Hassle Out of Laundry Day

Smart Design Deluxe Mesh Pop-up Square Laundry Hamper

When floor space is at a premium, a full-sized hamper can be a bulky eye-sore. Smart Design’s pop-up hamper can sit unobtrusively next to your dresser or tucked away in the closet. The mesh siding allows damp and sweaty clothes to dry faster, reducing the risk of funky odors.

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"These hold waaay more than I thought they would!" exclaims one reviewer — enough to do two loads of laundry in a single trip, in fact. Plus, when laundry day does come around, the sturdy handles make it easy to carry, and there are side pockets for detergent and fabric softener.

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It’s a Lamp! It’s a Display Case!

Simple Designs Home Etagere Organizer Storage Shelf and Floor Lamp

The Etagere floor lamp with shelves from Simple Designs Home is the sort of thing you never think about until somebody points it out — then you can’t get over what a great idea it is. It’s a floor lamp that stands just over 5 feet high and features sleek, sophisticated lines, but it also sports three shelves perfectly spaced for holding a telephone, small planter, cherished figurines and more. In the bedroom, it could easily double as a nightstand and a reading light.

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"It took me all of 15 minutes to assemble by myself," one reviewer reports, adding that you need to have a Phillips screwdriver on hand. "You can’t go wrong with this one," another reviewer adds. "It really does bring the room together." Some owners, however, note that the electrical cord can dangle awkwardly down the length of the lamp stand.

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You Can’t Go Wrong with a Good Rug

Home Dynamix Royalty Clover Contemporary Modern Area Rug

Home Dynamix offers a variety of rugs that feature soft, Persian-inspired decorative motifs in neutral colors. The Royal Clover contemporary rug is one example that blends nicely with nearly any decor. Whether you’re looking for an area rug to pull the living room together, a runner for the hall or a small round rug for the bedroom, the company offers the size you need.

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Many reviewers are delighted with how easily these rugs can be cleaned, with many stains coming out using only a damp cloth and some spray. "They vacuum really well," a reviewer adds, even in a household with multiple pets.

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It’s Okay to Drink on the Sofa Now

CouchCoaster

If you’re watching TV and you want to enjoy a drink but don’t have a coffee table, what do you do? Maybe it’s time to consider the CoachCoaster, a gadget that fits easily over the arm of your sofa or armchair to provide a secure base for everything from beer cans to coffee mugs.

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The sleeve is weighted on both sides for stability, and the drink holder keeps containers firmly in place — even if you accidentally brush it with your arm. (Although one reviewer did mention that it’s still vulnerable to jumping cats.)

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No More TV Dinner Trays

Sauder 420011 Dakota Pass Lift-Top Coffee Table

Maybe you’d like to have something to eat while you’re watching the big game. You could put your plate on the coffee table and bend over to eat, or you could hold your plate and risk spilling food on the couch. Sauder’s lift-top coffee table offers a better solution. The table top is actually a lid that raises several inches and slides forward, allowing you to eat — or work — comfortably on the couch with the top in front of you. Underneath, the table has plenty of storage space that is perfect for stashing items you don’t want out in the open.

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Reviewers describe this coffee table as "very sturdy and heavy." They also recommend you have somebody on hand to help you put it together.

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The Comfortable Way to Sit Up in Bed

ComfortSpa Reading Pillow

Do you spend a lot of time hanging out in your bedroom — reading, watching a movie on your tablet or checking on social media? You could jam a bunch of pillows against your headboard or wall to support your back — or you could get the ComfortSpa reading pillow. A comfortable 18 inches high, the foam pillow provides excellent back support.

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"This helps me feel like I'm more laying on the couch than in bed," says one happy reviewer. "It's very comfortable, no matter how you lay on it!" The armrests even have pockets so you don’t have to leave your glasses or smartphone on the bed, where they could be crushed if you roll over.

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The Comfortable Way to Work on Your Lap

Mind Reader LTADJUST-BLK Adjustable Portable Laptop Desk

They call it a laptop computer, but have you ever tried actually holding one in your lap? They sit uncomfortably, and you have to keep your head bent to read the screen, potentially causing back and neck pain. The adjustable laptop desk from Mind Reader takes care of several problems. It’s cushioned along the bottom, so it rests comfortably and smoothly on your legs. The smooth plastic surface can be adjusted to eight different angles, accommodating whatever position you choose, from sitting up to lying on the couch.

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Although it’s designed to work with laptops and tablets — and comes with a clip to keep them from sliding off when the desk is angled — it also makes an excellent writing desk. "No more hunching over for long periods!" one buyer says. Many note the plastic material is thin but say it’s more than sturdy enough to hold various electronic devices, even a thick hardcover book.

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Start Your Wine Collection in Style

Sorbus Wall Mount Wine Rack

Maybe you want to be a wine connoisseur — but you can’t find anywhere in your cramped kitchen to store more than one bottle. Take a look at the Sorbus wall-mounted wine rack. Many customers describe the rack as "easy to install," although they also recommend that you use longer mounting screws than the screws that come with the product, especially if you’re hanging it on drywall.

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Once it’s on the wall, people love the "clean, functional, simple design" of the metal rack, which holds up to nine normal-sized wine bottles securely. If you’re not a wine drinker, you can also use it for cooking oils or set it up in the bathroom as a towel rack.

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Plan Everything Out on Your Fridge

cinch! Magnetic Dry Erase Whiteboard Sheet

"We have almost always had a white board on our refrigerator for grocery lists and messages," says one consumer. Another says the magnetic whiteboard from cinch! is "the absolute best one we have ever had." It comes in two sizes (17 inches by 11inches and 20 inches by 13 inches) and includes markers — also magnetized to stick to your fridge — in four different colors.

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The dry erase board cleans easily, even if you leave something written on it for a month, and the thin design, with "clean and smooth" edging, means it blends seamlessly on a white refrigerator, an effect another buyer describes as "almost disconcerting!"

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Declutter Your Pots and Pans

Simple Houseware Kitchen Cabinet Pan and Pot Lid Organizer

Are you fed up with taking every pan you own out of the cabinet to get to the one pan you need? Maybe it’s time to get rid of your frustration with the Simple Houseware pan rack organizer. Place the rack on its side to hold four pans in a row, or stack five pans horizontally without worrying about scratching them.

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"You could not even see the bottom of my cabinet before," one reviewer says, but the unit still leaves rooms for pots in many cases. The racks are strong enough to hold heavy cast iron pans, although deep frying pans will only fit on top. It can also be screwed into the cabinet wall or the bottom for additional stability.

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Give Your Pantry a Simple, Streamlined Look

DRAGONN 10-Piece Airtight Food Storage Container Set

One of the biggest problems with keeping your kitchen organized is everything comes in different size boxes and bags, forcing you to create improvised pyramids on your pantry shelves. DRAGONN’s 10-piece airtight food storage containers set offers an elegant alternative, with containers in a variety of sizes to handle everything from spices to spaghetti.

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Shoppers praise the containers as "high quality and very durable" and note they also look great on the kitchen counter and are easily hand washable. The airtight seals keep everything fresh and dry and are an excellent deterrent against ants and other insects that could invade your kitchen.

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Have You Ever Looked Under Your Sink?

STORAGE MANIAC Under Sink 2-Tier Adjustable Shelf Organizer

When it comes to kitchen storage, the cabinet under the sink is the space most people don’t like to think about. It’s easy to just throw all the bottles of different cleaners in there and slam the door, but the adjustable shelf organizer from STORAGE MANIAC offers a better solution. You can return order to the chaos and make it easy to find what you need when you need it.

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Reviewers say this two-shelf unit is "very well made," noting that the length is adjustable to fit the size of your cabinet. The shelf’s surface consists of steel panels, which can also be moved to make space for the sink’s pipes. "Under my kitchen sink looks wonderful now!" one owner declares. It’s also perfect for under your bathroom vanity.

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Use Your Kitchen Wall to Establish Mise en Place

Wall Control Pegboard Organizer

Great chefs run their kitchens with an impeccable sense of mise en place — the principle that positions everything exactly where you need it before you start so you can prepare any dish smoothly and efficiently. An empty kitchen wall provides a big opportunity to pull essentials together in one easily accessible spot — with the help of Wall Control’s pegboard organizer.

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It’s the same kind of metal pegboard you might use to hang tools on the wall over a workbench, which ensures the board is sturdy enough to hold even your heaviest pans. "If you want something that will last a lifetime," says one reviewer, "then I highly recommend Wall Control boards." You can choose from a range of colors.

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A Colorful Foundation for Food Prep

Joseph Joseph 40087 Nest 9 Nesting Bowls Set

A well-stocked kitchen needs an assortment of mixing bowls and measuring tools.

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Joseph Joseph’s nine-piece set features all the basics, including four measuring cups and a tablespoon. The set is made of colorful plastic that will brighten up any kitchen, and the bowls don’t lose their sheen, even after multiple trips through the dishwasher.

The mixing bowls are extremely sturdy, with no-slip bottoms. "On family movie night," one reviewer reports, "three bags of microwave popcorn fit in the large mixing bowl." The small mixing bowl can hold a dozen eggs at once, with no problem.

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Get All Your Spices in Order

YouCopia Chef's Edition SpiceStack 30-Bottle Spice Organizer

The hard part of becoming a more adventurous home cook isn’t finding unique ingredients — it’s keeping track of them once you pack them away in your pantry. YouCopia’s Chef’s Edition SpiceStack has drawers that slide out from their frame and tilt forward so you can view the contents at a glance. There’s enough room for up to 30 regular-sized spice bottles.

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Reviewers call the SpiceStack "a total dream," praising the "sturdy plastic drawers" for their "amazing spice storage." It even comes with blank and preprinted labels for the front of the drawers if you want to take immediate stock of your inventory.

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You’ve Got to Hide Your Knives Away

Wusthof 8001 Under-Cabinet-Swinger Knife Storage Block

When you’ve got a small kitchen counter, a chunky knife block can take up a lot of valuable space. Wusthof’s under-the-cabinet knife block is the perfect solution, giving you easy access to eight knives (and a honing steel), then swiveling out of the way when you’re done.

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The beechwood block screws into the underside of a kitchen cabinet with just three screws, and many reviewers describe it as "very solid" and "excellently detailed with a smooth finish." They also note that the knives are held in their slots magnetically, but "they will fly out if you’re not careful." Then again, you would always be careful with knives, right?

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No More Fumbling for the Conditioner

Simple Houseware Bathroom Hanging Shower Head Caddy Organizer

"This shower caddy is epic!" raves one user who bought Simple Houseware’s hanging shower head organizer. It has a deep basket for shampoo, conditioner and other bottles, with a shelf beneath that can hold razors, sponges and bars of soap, plus hangers for a loofah or a back brush.

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When you don’t have a window ledge next to your shower or space in the corners of your tub to hold stuff, just hang this caddy over your shower head to keep everything in reach. Other customers praise it as "super sturdy" and "very stable... exactly what my husband and I needed."

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Making Bath Time Lots of Fun

Yihoon Mesh Shower Caddy Curtains Organizer

If you don’t feel comfortable hanging a caddy on your shower head, you can always try the mesh shower curtain organizer from Yihoon. It hangs securely on your shower rod or towel rack and has mesh pockets big enough to hold everything you need, from washcloths to shampoo bottles.

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"We have a small shower, and I hate the look of bottles all over the place," says one reviewer. This organizer offers an ideal solution. The mesh pockets dry quickly, and you can always throw it in the washer if it gets a little funky.

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Keep Your Cool — and Your Quiet

Lasko T42954 Wind Curve Portable Electric Oscillating Tower Fan

In a small room, every inch of floor space counts. Bulky fans take up too much room — and usually make too much noise. Lasko’s oscillating tower fan stands discreetly in a small space and boasts a woodgrain finish that blends in with most decors.

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More importantly, as one reviewer observes, "It's quieter than any tower fan I've ever owned," even at its highest speeds. A remote control allows you to change settings without getting up, and a nighttime mode allows you to slowly taper from high to low while you drift off to sleep.

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So Many Cables. So. Many. Cables.

Belkin 12-Outlet Power Strip Surge Protector

The TV, the cable box, the DVD player, the video game console, the high-speed modem, the base for the wireless phone — you’ve got tons of devices to plug in and very few outlets. Belkin’s 12-outlet power strip and surge protector can help you keep everything up and running.

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The power strip has six outlets running down the middle and another three on each side, especially designed to hold those oversized power adaptors that always cause you to lose the adjoining outlet on normal power strips. The internal circuitry can even gauge how much power each device is using and spread the voltage accordingly. "If I need more power bars in the future," says one satisfied reviewer, "these are what I will buy."

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Get All Those Cords Out of Sight

SimpleCord Cable Concealer

Even if you have a power strip big enough to handle all your electronic devices, you still have to deal with all those cords and cables, which can create an unsightly mess along your floor and walls. A few cable concealers from SimpleCord can take care of that problem. The plastic units are designed to blend with most wall colors, leaving a streamlined path from devices to an outlet.

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Reviewers praise these concealers as "easy to install" and "very sturdy." Once you have your wires laid down in the raceway containers, slide the plastic cover on, and you’re all set. Add-on units allow you to turn corners easily, and you can even lock them into place along your baseboards with adhesive strips or mounting screws.

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