For this final episode in our Organization series, I’ve got an episode for you that inspired my own journey over the past two months. Immediately after I interviewed Ashley Fowler (whom you may know as Ashley Laura), I started reorganizing my embellishments.
In our conversation we discuss her storage preferences and philosophy, focusing on a particular solution that has made her memory keeping even more fun!
Leave a comment below sharing your response to this week’s question.
Do you prefer open or closed storage?
- Acrylic storage towers (*)
- Photo of Ashley’s system
- Not mentioned – 6×6 acrylic drawer organizers (*)
- Avery Elle sleeves
- Ashley on Instagram
- Ashley’s YouTube channel
(*) Amazon affiliate link
Ashley Fowler 0:00
I found these acrylic organizers I decided, I'm going to put the bulk of my product, the things that I use the most, the prettiest things that I get most excited about, which are my embellishments. And that is exactly what I did. And I honestly don't think even if I do have this big, amazing luxurious space in the future, I think I'll still keep this type of style. It's, it's quick, I can see my product. I think I'm more likely to use product and to want to like sit down on my desk.
Jennifer Wilson 0:28
Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I'm your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner, Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is Episode 112. In this episode, I'm joined by Ashley Fowler to explore the organizing solutions that keep her creativity on a roll. This is the final episode of our organization journey and I wanted to end on a high note. I was so inspired by Ashley's approach when I interviewed her so let's dive into the conversation.
Jennifer Wilson 1:06
Hey, Ashley, welcome to the podcast.
Ashley Fowler 1:08
Jennifer Wilson 1:09
I am so glad to have you here. We are going to have a fun conversation about organization. We are in the middle of our organization journey. This is this whole two month period where we are really diving deep into all things tidying, corralling, decluttering. And I think this is going to be a really great conversation. So actually, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself to introduce yourself to our audience?
Ashley Fowler 1:35
Yeah, sure. So, yeah, so my name is Ashley, I am married to my husband, David, we have two kids and I work full time. So I am a trained therapist. So clinical social worker, but I work in a primary care setting. So I do a lot of talking about medication and talking about reassessing for mental health, even doing, even diagnosing. And then helping come up with a quick little plan in a short capacity throughout the office visit when they're there. So yeah, so I do that I do that pretty much from eight to five, and then come home and have have the hang out with my kids and have family time and then kind of do it all over again. So yeah, I have a pretty close, family. Even sibling lives across the street, my sister, so I see her a lot. And then my family, my parents live pretty close by so really close knit family and outside of scrapbooking. I'm pretty much either working or with family.
Jennifer Wilson 2:44
I understand, that sounds awesome that your family is so close. Yeah. And I yeah, I also appreciate you taking time out of your workday to talk with me today. So...
Ashley Fowler 2:55
Yeah, thank you. Yeah, they are. They are pretty close. So that's nice to have them, have them close by and especially when you have kids, cause it really does take a village for sure.
Jennifer Wilson 3:08
So one of the segments we always do on the podcast is talking about what is one thing that's exciting you right now in scrapbooking.
Ashley Fowler 3:15
Okay, so this isn't new to me, art. No, it is new to me, but it's not new to other people. And I've really been liking vintage scrapbooking. So when I say that, I mean like vintage products. So even if it's I think I've always liked collections that had a little bit of some vintage pieces in it. But they were newer collections. But I've been searching a lot for different, even small businesses that have actual, like vintage papers and like actual vintage stamps. And so I've been really into that. And I think partly because when I'm searching for inspiration, like on YouTube, or even if it's Instagram, I'm seeing a lot of journaling with vintage pieces. And so I've really been inspired by that lately. When before it was you know, these are more soft and like subtle colors. But before it was all color and like brights and bright pinks and yellows and stuff like that, which I still love. But I am really loving the vintage scrapbooking lately. So either that's just like making tags, or if that's putting like a quick little junk journal together. That's what I've been inspired by lately. So I actually just got done creating some tags this morning that have kind of a vintage feel. And I'm super excited to share those later.
Jennifer Wilson 4:38
Oh, that sounds so fun. So in terms of vintage, are you talking more about the look and feel of the product that has been made recently? Are you talking about actually using things that are older?
Ashley Fowler 4:49
Yes, so I think both. So I'll find different products like online especially in little Etsy shops that are true vintage, so they'll have like vintage papers. And so I've been more interested in that lately. But I'm right now like until I kind of get more like I've ordered a couple things, and I've just started looking at stuff like that. But until I get those orders in, I kind of use things that are like printables. So that mock more like vintage style. And then things that I've just picked up here and there. Because like I said, I've always liked, I've always had an eye for, not an eye, I've always had my eye out for different collections that have little pieces here and there that are in the newer collections. But more recently, I've actually liked, I've actually been liking searching for vintage like products truly from like that were that have been around for a long time. So...
Jennifer Wilson 5:51
I have to say one of my favorite finds is that I have a date stamp that was mine in the 80s. And it covers like 1980 to 1989. And it's so fun to be able to use that on my scrapbook pages.
Ashley Fowler 6:02
That's awesome. Yeah, I love that.
Jennifer Wilson 6:05
You know, I think another thing that this kind of makes me think about, because we talk a lot about style on this podcast and in general in the community. And just knowing like, are you someone who gravitates towards creams or more distressed and muted tones and textures? Or are you someone who likes like, clean graphic, you know, bright whites, you know, with black as a contrast, because it's very, it's very different. And if you're right, but if you don't know that about yourself, you may be buying product that ends up being kind of hard to use, because you haven't kind of started to peel back those layers of your own style preferences.
Ashley Fowler 6:44
Right. Yeah, that is a really hard question. And I think because I even recently talked about, and I know, we'll probably get into this more about how I organize my things. But, but without going too much into that I I think I gravitate or I alternate, I guess I should say, between the two. Sometimes I do feel like I'll go through phases in all scrapbook with clean designs and all like, you know, kind of like grid background. And I like really straight lines. And I'm going to try to get everything looking kind of nice and clean and simple on the page. And then there's times where I want like, you know, to tear off papers and to have like, kind of grungy layers and lots of layers. And so it's weird, I think right now, I'm more towards like, let's tear off papers, let's kind of like be messy, let's do some layers. And then I probably will go back and fourth. And it kind of depends on the project too. Because I think for me certain projects like Project Life that might be less layery and less grungy and a little bit more, you know, kind of straight and simple. And then when I'm doing more of like a journal or maybe like a 12 by 12 layout, it might be a little there might be more texture to it. So I really think it crosses but I think in terms of color, I almost always gravitate towards like blushes and creams and really soft, like mint colors. And I talked about this a lot my YouTube channel where I'll say, you know, I like my feel I like my blushes, I like my mints. And that's really kind of what I go between. I don't think I'll ever really like come off of those or leave those colors behind. I think I'll always can use those probably in every most every project. But that's that answers the question. I think that's another long and drawn out. But I think that's kind of answers the question about the style or my current style?
Jennifer Wilson 8:42
Oh, yeah, for sure. No, and I think that, yeah, it's just kind of an observation about how, what we can learn from even just that that one question of what's exciting you right now in the hobby, I think there's so much we can learn from that. And if even as our listeners can ask themselves that question, the more you answer the question, the more you know, along with us on the show, you'll be able to pick apart what really works for you and your hobby, right. All right, so our another favorite segment is what's on your Bucket List. So a Bucket List of stories are these stories that sometimes can feel a little bit weightier. They can feel important or significant things that you really want to make sure get captured. So what is one story that you want to tell?
Ashley Fowler 9:26
Yeah, so there's, there's a few, well, there's a few so but I'll choose one. I think right after my son was born, and I've talked about this briefly before and maybe even mentioned as to why I was kind of away a lot with at first with my Instagram and stuff like that. But right after he was born, actually about October, both, both my kids are born I have a five year old and a one and a half year old. And I had some pretty bad things, postpartum anxiety and as a therapist, of course, like I knew what it was, but it's hard. I think we're the worst patients, sometimes it's harder for us to admit it sometimes. But anyway, all that to say is that he was, my son in particular, who was born in 2019. He was in the nursery for just slow two, which I knew, you know, I know other babies have more extensive problems than that. But he was in the little hospital nursery for two weeks. And I really was like having a hard time with that. And like, my mind was running wild and things like that. But I still managed, I remember thinking, like, I need to take pictures, because if I don't, I'm going to regret that, that I didn't want to, because when I would look at him, I would just like cry. And I would just start getting anxious and think of all the things that would, all the different scenarios and all the different things that could happen. And so I remember being like, even though like, my eyes are puffy, and I look like I've, you know, been up all night, I still like would say, tell my husband to take a picture of us or take a picture of me looking at the baby or me holding the baby. Or I would get a picture, snap a picture of him and the baby. So it's kind of like one of those stories that I haven't I have not yet put on paper. And I don't think there's a barrier to that, I don't think it's because I'm like reluctant or scared. I think it's more just like I have these projects that have kind of piled up at this point. And I feel like I need to go back and truly, like tell the story of what that was like in that two week period. Since we got home, it was like a weight was lifted. But during that time, I remember not wanting in my, in my mind, I was like, I do not want to take any pictures because I'm anxious. And what if I look back at these, what if something happens to him and, and then I look back in these pictures or you know that I just want to destroy them. And I don't know, lots of crazy thoughts are going through my head. And I just remember thinking, no, stop listening to that you need to take pictures and you're want to remember these moments. And every so often I go back to those pictures and I'm like, look how cute he is. And I think of all the good things you know. So that is a story I definitely want to tell and I want to write it after my daughter was born, I had some similar similar feelings. And so I ended up like months later, after she was born, I ended up writing a little letter to her. And I didn't go in all the detail into all the details about what that experience was like with anxiety and having a new baby. But I remember writing that letter and feeling, feeling really hopeful and great about the fact that I did that for her. And so I kind of want to do the same thing for him.
Jennifer Wilson 12:34
I like that the parallel there.
Ashley Fowler 12:36
Jennifer Wilson 12:36
That's an awesome story. And I think that these conversations always prompt my own stories as well. Because so you talking about that the two weeks my daughter was in the NICU after she was born because she had meconium. She pooped they had to make sure she didn't swallow it. And you know, everything was fine. But it was certainly nerve wracking. But but actually the story that that came out of listening to you was about the photos that I didn't take. Because you're talking about having your your husband take the photos and make sure you did. I remember once we got home I was so just like strung out from not having slept in like three days. And, and I said, really, I was thinking in my mind, we really should go outside and take a photo, like a family photo of us the three of us together. And we never did like I was like trying to get over the mental hurdle to even say the words out loud. And I never did. So I am sure I can think of even other other photos that I wanted to take in a moment. And I didn't and I regret it. So I think that's, that would be an interesting layout to create too.
Ashley Fowler 13:39
Jennifer Wilson 13:41
All right, so we didn't discuss this beforehand. But do you know your Myers Briggs or Enneagram type?
Ashley Fowler 13:46
I do. So my I'm a 9 on the Enneagram and Myers Briggs I don't know. Like, I didn't look too much into that. I've studied it before, of course, a long time ago. We took it in classes, of course in college, and I do remember I was an ESFJ. Which I still I think it's still fitting if I go back to all the characteristics, but I think I know a little bit more about the Enneagram. Which I'm a 9. I've taken it twice. To be honest, maybe three times even I think I got the same response each time because I don't think I truly like believe believed. Like, when I see the write up is I show it to somebody else or like I don't know if that's you. And I'm like, Yeah, I don't know if it is either. But that I think I really tried to answer the questions like with my heart and like what I truly feel on the inside versus maybe how I portray sometimes which sounds funny that I'm one way you know, I present one way that I really tried to like answer them is like this is what's comfortable for me. And this is what I typically the majority of the time is how I feel and so, yeah, I'm a 9. So I know I've seen you know, like they don't like confrontation. They like to kind of want everyone to get along. They're the peacemaker. Which I do think it is definitely me for sure. I know there's some flaws in that as well. But...
Jennifer Wilson 15:09
That yeah, I mean, I, I believe I'm like a, I'm an Enneagram, 3 with a wing 9. So I'm definitely, I don't like conflict. I like things. I am drama avoider, for sure. But it can be hard sometimes to actually then you can, I guess be disappointed in the results. If you're not willing to actually advocate for it you, you want rather just make everyone happy? It's It's a challenging line to walk for sure.
Ashley Fowler 15:36
Yeah. And it's so interesting, because like, I'll look at, you know, all this time, I don't really think I'll kind of get around other people. And, you know, there's certain things that I think can stress people out that I'm like, maybe I should be feeling more stressed and not as relaxed about this, or maybe feeling. You know, and that doesn't say that I have, you know, an anxious background for sure. Or like a baseline of probably set a little bit of anxiety or a mild anxiety. But it's interesting, there's a lot of different situations where I do remain relaxed and calm. And I don't know if that's, I know, that's both home and, and also work, but probably more so work because of what I do. And because of the the hardship that people have to tell me. And I think it's just in my nature to remain calm. And plus, at this point, there isn't anything I haven't heard. And so lots of different things that could show up or that come up in different scenarios. I probably am like, oh, that's not as bad as the, you know, the last situation that I heard about. So I think that's partially why I'm, I'm pretty relaxed and calm. But yeah, the whole, you know, complex thing, I agree, I would prefer to be out of the drama. And it does make me a little uncomfortable when something does like take place. And I notice all kind of like if I hear a situation going on in the front desk with the person and a patient and it's getting kind of like, you know, the patient's getting upset. I'm like, oh, I'm out here to the back where I normally sit at my desk. So it's real funny, because I there, there are definitely times where and then there's times where I'm like, I feel protective over whoever it is that either, you know, getting attacked or feeling attacked, rather. And so I'll kind of step up. And that's when I'm really feeling like, okay, I'm protective. Now, whoever this person is, so that have those moments as well.
Jennifer Wilson 17:34
So I'm curious based on what you know, or, you know, generally understand about your personality, how do you think that impacts your scrapbooking in general, how you interact with the scrapbooking community, or even how you choose to organize things?
Ashley Fowler 17:49
Yeah. So I think, yeah, I think that that's a great question. Because I want so badly to be very consistent, and like very organized. But I don't know that that's a top priority for me. And so it's right now it has been because I like have some have an organization, or I have a system right now that like I'm really enjoying. So I think that helps. I think that helps my thought process. Like, it helps me to create more, because I'm a little bit more organized. And I know the benefits of being organized for sure. But it's not a priority. And I doubt it, I highly doubt it's a I mean, I don't know, I haven't read much up on that in terms of the Enneagram 9, but but I think I'm not sure that it's a priority for them either. And so with, with interacting with the scrapbooking community, I think it goes to if we go even backwards to the fact that I'm just extroverted in general, I would, I would like to even have more contact and more connection. And so I think that that's, you know, helpful. I think when I highly doubt anything ever goes down in the scrapbooking community that's, you know, conflicting or even concerning, but if that were the case, I'd be the type to probably want to just not be and not be involved at all.
Jennifer Wilson 19:22
Ashley Fowler 19:24
And so yeah, that's part of the reason why I like it probably and how, why my personality fits so, so, or why my particular personality kind of gravitates towards being creative and kind of that online community. Because it does remain pretty calm. It's just kind of like, just be creative, be yourself. Do what you love. And I think that's probably why I'm an Enneagram 9.
Jennifer Wilson 19:52
Yeah, I certainly think we do have like a little mini ups and downs of things, but compared to other online communities, I would say that scrapbooking is pretty unproblematic and...
Ashley Fowler 20:03
Jennifer Wilson 20:03
And fairly drama free. So...
Ashley Fowler 20:06
Right. And I want to keep it that way.
Jennifer Wilson 20:08
Yes, for sure. Yes. All right, let's jump in to organization. So I have kind of a couple like quickfire fun questions to start with. So okay, is your house as organized as your scrapbook supplies?
Ashley Fowler 20:24
Yes. And I don't you want me to go into detail?
Jennifer Wilson 20:27
Sure. Go ahead.
Ashley Fowler 20:28
Okay. So, more recently, yes, I I mentioned earlier that I know the benefit of being organized in terms of I think in terms of like, just being more productive. And because me and my husband both work full time, because our kids like go somewhere during the day. And then we come home, we have to do it kind of all over again, we do try pretty hard to stay organized. But that's not always been the case that's more recent. Some of it was influenced by like organizational like shows or like videos. So again, hope inspiration, but some of it was also just the fact that I knew that I needed to get it together. So it was kind of like one thing, like something that struck me that was like, I can't keep just throwing things in the pantry and not being able to find anything, or I just can't, I can't keep you know, throwing things in the laundry room and then having to sort every single time I go in there. So over the last, I would say, what's interesting about this is because this is fairly new to me, but over the last like, I guess month or so, I've been slowly trying every, trying to organize every room and closet. And so the day after Christmas, I went and I don't even want to discuss how much money was spent on this. But I went and just like cleared out all like a ton of stuff. I went to the stores, I pretty much cleared out their organizational section. That's a little bit dramatic but I did go in I bought a ton of stuff. And I came home and I was like I need everything in clear bins because I can't find anything. And I have a little art closet for my daughter. So all of that like came out and was redone. My pantry was redone. And then like cabinets, and then my laundry room. And then ultimately my closet as well. And so now it is, whereas before it was not and we don't have a big home. So that's another thing. I don't like a lot of like, a lot of stuff just sitting out. So that was one of the reasons why I wanted to like kind of like maximize space. So now it is but before it was not.
Jennifer Wilson 22:26
I'm curious now that you've you know, you got it all together. How has the maintenance gone? Because we're you know, we're in mid February now it's been maybe six weeks, right? So...
Ashley Fowler 22:35
Yeah, and maintenance has gone better than I thought. Refrigerator wise, not so much just because that is like kind of, we do clean it up pretty often, but not so much with the refrigerator thing. That's one of those things, we just kind of throw you know, there are leftovers and the different products in there. Pantry is a little bit better than I thought. I've been able to keep up with that. Her art closet, I've made sure just because of how much of a disaster it was before. And then because I'm not like, in my closet, like getting things out of the bins. As often as you know, I am in other areas that stays pretty clean and organized as well. My scrapbooking stuff is like it's a change. It's an ever changing, like cycle. I'm constantly like moving things around and trying new items, or trying new organizational items. So I think that's just going to be one of those things that you know, until I have the huge space and a big space that I've always really wanted then I think it's just going to be I'm just trying to figure out what I like.
Jennifer Wilson 23:42
Oh, for sure. Now so you mentioned clear bins, do you prefer open or closed storage in general?
Ashley Fowler 23:49
So clear, closed.
Jennifer Wilson 23:54
Ashley Fowler 23:56
So I want to be able to see but I don't want so uh, but I of course I like to stack so I think in terms of like maximizing space, but definitely clear bins for sure, so I can see through. And I've recently bought some in different parts of my house, different clear bins that are, that are stackable so that I can obviously maximize that particular space. But then I can see what's in there and then I went ahead and labeled the majority of those things with vinyl. I don't, I don't necessarily, you may ask me that about this later but I don't have it labeled all of my scrapbooking stuff yet. I don't think that I will just because it does change quite a bit. My like overstock and my closet I have labeled but in terms of like my desk and my space around it. I'm not, I don't think that I'll be or what am I trying to say, like setting the, setting those products up with labels just because like I said they change quite a bit.
Jennifer Wilson 24:58
Oh sure. I have, I use the sterilite drawer. So I have like one wide one into like narrow ones. They're really similar to think of like a plastic version of the IKEA Alex drawers. And they have the semi opaque drawers and I labeled all of them for what was in them. And now, none of those things match. I started pulling some of them off. But it's time to like, totally redo. And I don't know how I'm gonna label them this time because things kept getting moved around.
Ashley Fowler 25:26
Yeah, that totally makes sense. Yeah.
Jennifer Wilson 25:28
All right. And then finally a polarizing topic. How do you store your washi tape?
Ashley Fowler 25:34
Oh, gosh, that's if that's, if I'm honest, that is, that is something I have not quite figured out. And right now it's thrown into like a little clear bin where I just kind of like dig through it. And it there's no, like, rhyme or reason to it. That's every single washi tape that I own is in this particular little bin, it's kind of a long skinny bin. And I think I originally purchased this bin thinking it would fit in my like little IKEA cart. And it actually it fits inside, but not well. And so actually ended up just like taking it out. And I think I keep my washi tape like underneath my desk now. And I'll just kind of pick it up. But I would like to find a nice little storage solution and maybe even downsize the amount that I have. And just go with the ones that I truly use, which has been lately, which is what I've been trying to do is kind of get rid of the things that I don't use. And just keep things that I know I'm gonna pull, which is hard because my style changes a lot. So that's a whole other thing.
Jennifer Wilson 26:36
Well, I'll just, you know, I've tried various methods over the years. And for a while I was diehard, like, we have to stack these in rainbow order because it looks so cool, but I never put them back. Like I would never put things back in a stack. And so I just keep them in a basket like you do and it's fine. Like anything else has always been too cumbersome.
Ashley Fowler 26:59
Right, exactly. That's exactly right. And, and I think with, with me throwing them in a plastic bin right now, it to me, washi tape kind of looks good, regardless. I think it's just one of those products that can look cute wherever you place it. It's kind of like having just some cute little markers like sitting on your desk. I think it's same concept, and whether they're in rainbow order or not. And so yeah, and I think I think kind of you said a basket. I think that actually sounds really like nice if it's something that I can kind of see through a little bit too. But I think that would be probably my next purchase for washi tape just more of a round basket right now. It's kind of like a long, skinny and it's I'm outgrowing it a little bit. But if I don't downsize and I may look at something kind of, like rounder and a little bit with a little bit more depth.
Jennifer Wilson 27:46
Mine's one of those like, metal open open metal, like locker basket type thing.
Ashley Fowler 27:52
That's kind of what I pictured when you said that.
Jennifer Wilson 27:53
Yeah, yeah, I like those. They're, they're a little like the ones I got, like from the Target dollar spot. And so they're really kind of uneven. And that bothers me like they don't sit flat on the desk they're always rocking. Because they were $1.
Ashley Fowler 28:07
Jennifer Wilson 28:08
But you can see everything in it nicely. And so I do appreciate 'em for that.
Ashley Fowler 28:12
Jennifer Wilson 28:13
All right, so now we have to talk about your acrylic organizers, because you cannot look at your Instagram feed without noticing that this is a a big storage solution that you have. So how did you come up with this?
Ashley Fowler 28:26
Okay, so I've seen and I have to be honest, I've seen a few other people use these storage solutions. One being Heba, which I don't know if these are the exact same ones but they're I think that they're similar. There might be some other people that I've noticed in the scrapbooking and paper crafting community that's used, used these as well. And I hate to not think of their names and not mention them but basically the, the I've seen different people here and there either on YouTube or on Instagram have some that are very similar if not the same ones. And I was like that would be really nice you know to have. Prior to having these I had, I'd shared a picture of these, this kind of, it's like almost like a towel rack and then, it's from IKEA, but it held these bins like on that towel rack. So all of my tools and things are hanging out of that bin.
Jennifer Wilson 29:19
Yes, I have that. So and so I know what you're talking about.
Ashley Fowler 29:22
Yeah. It actually like I had it for years and it worked pretty well but I started to notice having it right above my desk that I had to find things that fit perfectly underneath. Which I can only fit like one little box or something underneath it. Or I had to you know, figure out what I can actually see because they are white bins so I couldn't really see through it. And so a lot of times I found myself like digging and so I didn't, when I thought about like, again I use a lot, but like maximizing space just because I hear, I hear like organ, organizers like talk about this. When I would look at that, when I would dig I would I felt like I was just constantly getting things just from the top. And I didn't really even know what was underneath all that stuff. So partly because it just really held my tools and maybe even some markers. And I, I, while I use tools, I didn't use every single thing in those bins all the time. And so part of me was like, I really just want to be able to look at like, my, my, the bulk of my product in front of me. So I thought, well, what can I place there because those bins stick out pretty far. Is there, there's like a product that sticks out just as far that won't be seen. Part of it, it was also thinking about what I was, what could be seen in my video. And so I was like, how far will those stick out? Will it take up too much desk state, desk space, because those, like I said, stuck out kind of far from the wall. And so I found those acrylic organizers, organizers on Amazon. I had seen them in a store and thought I could get all I could just load them up right now. But they didn't have as many as I wanted. And I wanted them to all be the same as far as like the acrylic. I know, acrylic can like look differently in terms of like the type of, you know, the clarity. And so I found these acrylic organizers. I decided, I'm going to put the bulk of my product, the things that I use the most, the prettiest things that I get most excited about, which are my embellishments. And that is exactly what I did. And I honestly don't think even if I do have this big, amazing luxurious space in the future, which that's a dream, we'll see if that comes true. Even if I do end up with that, I think I'll still keep this type of style. It's, it's quick, I can see my product. I think I'm more likely to use product and to want to like sit down on my desk. So it came about with, to kind of answer a question that came about, because I decided to get rid of the the bins thay wern't clear and to decide like, what can I replace it that with that I use a lot. And that was how I came up with the acrylic bins. And I actually just got one more, I have four of them. And I got one more because I have to actually have space for six. But I'm going to keep a little bit of the desk like the little bit in the corner blank for my tools. And then I'm gonna add one more, because I realized there's a few other embellishments I want to add. And so, we'll organize that one later.
Jennifer Wilson 32:16
Okay, so how many, like how many drawers does this have. So we can give a visual for our audience, we'll include a link to some photos in the show notes as well. But if we can kind of mentally come up with an image right now.
Ashley Fowler 32:28
Right. So there are four large drawers and too many drawers at the top. So when I say large, they hold quite a bit. If I can just give a little bit of a picture they hold, they definitely hold like larger than five by seven items. So if you have like washi tape, I guess like sheets, or if you have like large tags or large label sheets or sticker sheets, of course, they're not going to fit like 12 by 12 items. But I'd imagine they probably can even fit like six by six paper pads, I actually haven't tried that. Or six by six papers, I should say they're a pretty, it's a pretty good sized drawer in terms of the large drawers. Now the mini drawers, and those are the two up on top. Those are just kind of how you can picture this. They're half the size of the larger drawers. And so you can kind of fit your maybe the embellishments that you don't have as many of or maybe the smaller pieces that you have, that would be kind of a good solution. What I like about these drawers is most scrapbooking supplies that you're going to get either online at the store, they're going to fit. Like your standard like sticker sheets and your standard like little alpha stickers. Especially if you shop at different you know, or if you get kits, or if you shop at different scrapbooking stores like Studio Calico or Elle's Studio or even, you know, Feed Your Craft or wherever you shop, you're probably gonna be able to fit the majority of standard size product in there. And if you can't fit, what's nice is you can kind of pull them out of packaging and add them in like I've done with labels and cork pieces and chipboard and things like that.
Jennifer Wilson 34:16
So I looked up the entry at Amazon's to check on the dimensions. And so it looks like the big drawer is six and a quarter by nine and a half.
Ashley Fowler 34:26
Jennifer Wilson 34:26
So that means probably like a six by eight paper sheet or paper pad could probably fit in there.
Ashley Fowler 34:32
Yes, that's probably that's what it seems like to me.
Jennifer Wilson 34:35
Okay. See that? That's so awesome. Because really, other than 12 by 12 paper, and I guess this there's an in, how do I say, there's an increasingly smaller number of things that I'm seeing that are six by 12. It seems like everything is just a little bit smaller than it used to be. And I think part of it's because we're creating in smaller formats. But I don't see as many of those larger sticker sheets and stuff anymore.
Ashley Fowler 35:00
Right. And that's kind of, that's when you shop online. And like you said, we're seeing things created on a smaller scale, I think because people are doing traveler's notebooks and smaller little mini albums and different projects like that. And I think me personally, I don't find myself buying larger sticker sheets like I used to are like the 12 by 12 ones that would fold apart, which they still make, and I would still buy if I you know, with with newer collections, I guess. But, and if I do get 12 by 12 paper, I just try to find a different way to store that. And so this works perfectly for probably 95% of the products that I have, with the exception, with the exception of there are some of the sticker sheets that I have that just run like a tad bit wider than six and a half and so that's a little bit of a bummer. But not anything that's like you know, worth not buying these basically I can just like store those somewhere else or place those in a drawer. I do have an Alex drawer actually close by where I kind of hide like either like overstock of things or hide some products that don't need to really be out all the time. And that's the perfect place for those alpha stickers.
Jennifer Wilson 36:16
So let's talk about how you pick what goes in every drawer. So are things organized by by the type of supply by category like color, like what line it came from, like all your Citrus Twist together and all your something else together or how do you, how do you decide?
Ashley Fowler 36:35
Yeah, so the categories are kind of, so a couple like the embellishments like the cardstock embellishments are by style. And I'll get into that more. Just to kind of give you an overview though I have other categories such as like chipboard, which have has its own drawer. Cork has its own drawer, puffy stickers, has its own drawer, and then so on. You have like puffy sticker alphas, then I have another one for tiny text words, which I use a lot and talk about a lot. Then I have one just for stickers, one for labels. And then I have some like miscellaneous things that I don't use all the time. But I still wanted to keep in case I wanted to grab for like a special project like some chipboard frames that are kind of larger. But have some like little frilly, like pom poms, type stuff on it, and then some flare that I don't pull very often but I wanted to keep. I have those like the miscellaneous things together. And I find that it works for me to have a little miscellaneous drawer. Like if just one though, I don't want to start getting into like having those drawers because then it's, nothing's gonna be organized. But just having one where I'm like, I'm not really sure what to do with this, I want to keep it because it's kind of a neat little like unique product, but nothing that I have a place for at this time to like put it in its own space. So I have a drawer for some miscellaneous products. And then I have some like, I have my rubber and my acrylic pieces together. And then I think I would have been here I think I've covered most of I even have like a smaller scraps drawer now where I have like a bin where I keep larger scraps. But then I have like when I'm doing little embellishments and projects that have like leftover scraps, I'm putting them in this, like one of my bins, one of my little drawers, the larger ones. Just to keep kind of on hand so I can kind of pull when I need something smaller and I'm not digging in a larger bin for a smaller piece.
Jennifer Wilson 38:32
So I'm curious, do you pull these drawers out when you're creating or do you, actually do they even pull out easily?
Ashley Fowler 38:40
Yes. Oh, God is that was like a must have for me. I did not want something that you pulled in it like hung on the end. I want something that I could pull out and set on my desk. And I do that a lot in my when I'm cropping. The only time I think I ever just pull it out super quick and grab something is when I'm looking for something like when I know what I'm gonna grab and it's like very specific, I'll just grab it real quick and put it back in. But 99% of the time I pull the drawer out they're so easy to pull out put in they really seem like high quality. I think I spent like $25 on each of them. And they were $25 each and so I think that that's that's a great price for what for what you're getting. And I know I felt like probably lots of people in the makeup, maybe, community likely use some sort of like acrylic drawers like these. But I just felt like they worked perfectly for what I was going for and then having kind of a nice, like, clean look, but being able to see like your beautiful product too, if that makes sense?
Jennifer Wilson 39:43
Oh, for sure. I mean, why do we collect all this stuff if not to look at it and drool over it, inspire us to actually create something. I think so often when my stuff is tucked away and I can't see it, it doesn't have that opportunity to get me excited about it.
Ashley Fowler 40:00
Jennifer Wilson 40:01
All right. So you mentioned that you used to have the towel rack type thing, which I think it's like, supposed to be a plant holder is that what? Because I have this on my wall too. And I barely use it because it's kind of awkward. But I think IKEA sold it is like, put your plants in where or your silverware or something, it was like a kitchen thing. Maybe?
Ashley Fowler 40:21
You're right. I think I did get it in the kitchen section, if I can remember correctly.
Jennifer Wilson 40:25
So I'm curious now that you don't have those, and how do you keep your tools? And then also, how do you kind of decide what goes in drawers versus not in the drawers besides size, I guess?
Ashley Fowler 40:38
Okay. So in terms of tools, I keep them, I have a little turn, like Lazy Susan, like, turn a tool thing. It looks like it's probably, I guess it could be used for a bunch of different things. I think it was originally maybe sold as like a makeup, acrylic table thing. But anyway, all that to say it's it's not super big, it's probably like, it's probably a dimension, it's likely like about like eight inches, because it's round. And so I use it, there's like a taller, I guess organizer in the middle. And there's some like smaller ones around that middle one. So the taller one I keep like my scissors and my little like pokey tool and my ruler, I keep because I have about like three or four pairs of scissors. So I'll keep them there. And then in the little smaller compartments that surround that larger compartment. And again, like I said, it turns so it's kind of nice, because I keep it next to my drawers that I was just talking about. And the smaller compartments all I keep my like glue my, I have a glue stick that I also keep my tape runners there, which I use more often. And then a couple of my date stamps, bone folder. And then I think maybe even like my liquid glue, and a couple of other things that I find that I grab a lot. If I don't reach for it, and the majority of my proj, projects, then it's not going to be sitting on my desk. And that's kind of how I've decided what to put in there. Mainly in that one in terms of the drawers, I'm likely not the drawers that have all the embellishments in it, I'm likely not going to pull every single door out of each project. But I know that one, I have the space to fill these up with all of my product and two kind of the way that I've decided is yes, size, what fits. But also, what I know, there will be a use for and what I know like if I can see it, I'll pull, I'll pull for it. That makes sense. So my way of thinking was not only categorizing these things that are in my drawers, but also that in for my mind, if I can see it, I'll use it. And if that's the case that I'm going to stick it there. With tools, it's just so much different. Because like that, it's part of your creativity, but it doesn't really like you know the tools are tools, you're going to pull them and you're going to use them in most projects. And if you don't, you don't it's kind of more black and white. Whereas with the embellishments, I think you like sit down. And I think the embellishments a lot of times inspire you. And so that's why I wanted to kind of keep those out so that I can see them. I would much rather look at embellishments then look at tools that I'm not using as often.
Jennifer Wilson 43:26
Oh, 100%. I mean, yes. I think that I had my I have a Cinch. And I had it where I could see it for so long. And I just keep seeing out of the corner of my eye and I'm like, I've never used that. I've still never used that. It's been like how many years now? And why do I still have this thing? Because I'm not going to bind any books. So that is something very true. But I think we often talk about, well, you have to have the things that you grab for often. But yes, but you're gonna grab for them often, even if they're off to the side, or not where you can see them, you want to make sure that whether it's your supply is or a you know, a cork board with, you know, inspirational pictures on it. You want to be able to see the things that lift you up and keep you connected to what's important.
Ashley Fowler 44:14
Right, exactly. I totally agree with that.
Jennifer Wilson 44:16
Okay, so kind of breaking down now. So tell me how long you've been using these acrylic drawers. When did you buy the first one?
Ashley Fowler 44:25
Let's see, I think I ordered. I think I ordered the first one at the very end of December. And I believe I got it in the mail, like within the first couple of days of January. So I've been using them since the first week of January and I've been loving it ever since. And every time I look at it, I'm like, I just I really love these. Like I feel you know, and like there's some things you don't feel like at peace with in your, whether it's your life or your scrapbooking world. It's kind of like well, that's kind of bothering me. I don't feel like I'm using that space the way that I should be using it. This is one of those things where I'm like, that was a good, that was a good call. And I even felt I do this a lot. But you know, we have our like guilt for spending money and things like that. And I'm like, do I even need that? I probably don't. But then I was like, it would probably make my creative juices start to flow a lot easier just because I can see those things. Whereas embellishments typically were either put away in like drawers that were closed. Unless I was like working on a current project where and then those things are out. But I really justified it. And I'm glad I did just because I really, it really helps me to like, every time I walk by it, I'm like, okay, I do want to sit down and create. And before it was a little bit harder to do, especially if I was tired, or if I you know, taking care of kids and things like that. So this this really once the kids are in bed, I'm like I see these things sitting out, I definitely want to sit down and create.
Jennifer Wilson 45:52
Is there anything about the system other than those, like random letter stickers that were too wide? Is there anything about the system that like isn't perfect about it? Or is it really just like, isn't that awesome?
Ashley Fowler 46:07
Yeah, I mean, I hate to say it that I do think I hate to say this, like I think I want to try to find something I and I think it's my personality to not give something a 10 out of a 10 but it really is like a 10 out of a 10. And I, there are some things that doesn't fit but that really doesn't bother me too much. Just because I think the things that I did fit are the thing they first of all fit the majority of my product. Secondly, it it fit the majority of the things that I'm going to pull for pretty frequently. And so if I have a couple things that it doesn't fit that I have to hide away in one little drawer like I'm not mad about that.
Jennifer Wilson 46:45
Oh yeah, for sure. Well, it helps you make decisions to about what you really want to using.
Ashley Fowler 46:50
Jennifer Wilson 46:51
And the more we have stuff tucked away the more we should be considering, oh do I need to keep this?
Ashley Fowler 46:56
Jennifer Wilson 46:58
All right, so what about when you have like a specific project that you're working on? Or like a seasonal thing like December Daily? Do you gather separate supplies for your project and put them anywhere?
Ashley Fowler 47:14
Yes, so with especially with this has been kind of a I guess this would be more of like a challenge. There are certain supplies that I don't keep with the bulk of my supplies and that would be like holidays like Christmas. And specific holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving or just like thankful things that I have in my stash or that are, or even Halloween. I have some stuff that's Halloween that was sent to me. I don't keep that like readily available. But I do with Christmas stuff, I do have like a separate, I think they're called like Iris containers. I could totally be wrong, but they're like the ones that fit 12 by 12 paper and so yeah, I have a ton of those. And I use those for to store, just to kind of throw her current projects in. And so if I have like, or I would say current even just like projects that I need to finish so that has my December Daily or document December stuff in there. And then for my, for the things that are like more specific like other holidays whether it's Easter, like I said, Thanksgiving, Halloween those things right now I don't have like a great system for. I just have them labeled in, unless there's 12 by 12 paper that goes along with it, which I don't have any I don't think holiday 12 by 12 paper other than Christmas stuff. I have those little zipper bags that used to get from I think it was Studio Calico from there or not used to, they may still send them for their little kits.
Jennifer Wilson 48:45
Well I mean yeah they haven't had 12 by Kit 12 by 12 by 12 kit in a while. But I think they went to paper at some point. Today I don't know I, I've not always remembering correctly but yes I have a lot of those as well. And I love them if you can if you you know, know what we're talking about but don't have them, you can buy similar types of bags at Michaels.
Ashley Fowler 49:06
Yes, that's what I've heard I haven't bought, I haven't found them at Michaels, I haven't looked for them I guess. I'll just say at Michaels but I have heard that you can purchase them other places and people use them for different storage solutions. They have the little bags with the zippers but I just labeled those with like you know fall theme and then back to school theme. Because like I said I don't keep those things readily available because I know that I think the fact of the matter is I'm not going to pull for that stuff whenever I'm crafting on like a regular basis and if it's labeled I can pull for that whenever a how a holiday comes up.
Jennifer Wilson 49:45
For sure. Yeah, no, I I definitely keep my holiday stuff separate even like my holiday washi tape that has its own bin compared to all the rest of the washi tape.
Ashley Fowler 49:56
Jennifer Wilson 49:57
So I think some of my blingy things are get the short shrift the rest of the year because they kind of keep them with my Christmas stuff. So...
Ashley Fowler 50:04
Jennifer Wilson 50:06
So what about, you know, I'm sure you mentioned it, you'd like to try new things, you're always thinking about that your your strategies from organization. What systems or approaches have you tried over the years that would just, that does not work for me?
Ashley Fowler 50:20
Yeah, so, I think for, so there was a time, I think the punches, I, if I'm being completely honest, I have not found a good solution for punches. They're bulky, I've seen people display them, I've seen people like just kind of throw them in a drawer, I've seen them like where they're just kind of in a basket. So for a while I had my punches, small and big, and like a larger kind of wire basket, like we were talking about from Target earlier. But these are a little bit larger. And they were sitting on the floor, so that I could just like reach down and grab one and come back up and use them because I do use, I do use punches, I'd say I use them quite a lot. I don't, I don't pull for them every project. But when I do use them, I like really use them I'm in a phase. But I have them sitting in a larger basket. And it was hard to kind of dig around because they do look very, a lot of them look very similar. So if you're looking for a round one, or one with scallop edges or a heart one. That a lot of them, especially if you get them from your local craft store, they're going to be similar in style. And so that didn't really work for me. So then I change them to a drawer so that I could find them like easy, like more easily, I guess. And that is where they currently are. But I don't, I don't love that. And I think because it takes up quite a bit of space. But also, because I just I feel like it's not really any different than digging around in a basket for 'em. Other than the fact that I've kind of put the larger ones with larger ones and the smaller ones smaller. So that helped a little bit. But I haven't, I still haven't found a great solution for the punches.
Jennifer Wilson 51:59
Yeah, I mean, they are heavy and bulky minor in a drawer. I yeah, that is definitely I don't, I don't get excited by them. So I but I don't have like, I don't have pretty punches. I have very like functional utilitarian punches for the most part like shapes, and like tags and corner things. And you know, they're not they're not sexy.
Ashley Fowler 52:21
Jennifer Wilson 52:22
So I wouldn't, I couldn't see displaying them. And plus, they're all different shapes, like I don't have like one line where they're all like, I can stack them up beautifully, you know, like that. So I definitely see that that's kind of an awkward type of thing that you just kind of have to deal with. So...
Ashley Fowler 52:39
Right, yeah, I have not been able to find a solution. And I'll be kind of looking around for a solution for those. But for now, and I don't think I mentioned this, I have a small space in actually in the corner of mine and my husband's bedroom. And so that was, I had a room. And when I had my second child, we we obviously gave each one of them their own space. And so now I have a little space in our bedroom. And I knew I couldn't do away with scrapbooking and like completely. And so we just decided to do a little space here. And so part of kind of going back, going backwards a little bit. Part of the reason why I wanted to maximize the space and really put my embellishments out on the on the desk was because I don't have a whole lot of space to work with anyway. And so some of it was being able to see things and grab those things and while keeping stuff organized. And so if I could find a good solution for some of my other product that is more bulky, like especially tools and things like that, that would be great. But for now they're just like in an Alex drawer tucked away, which doesn't bother me too much. I think it would bother me more if they were on display.
Jennifer Wilson 53:47
Oh, for sure. I'm curious if there's other things like wherever you tried it one way and then switched it, like maybe you tried organizing something by color and then realize you don't think that way or?
Ashley Fowler 53:59
Yeah. So at one point, I did have my labels by color. And a lot of people will do this and it looks really nice and pretty, and it probably works great for them. Personally, it mine. One, I think that I reached for I guess I should say I'll reach for probably the same color over and over again. So having them and that sounds funny saying that not having them, you know, grouped by color. But my concern was that if I had just like a pink label box, and that's really all I would go to and I wouldn't really go to the other one. So I have them all together. I don't have I don't have so many that they're overflowing so keeping them the labels together worked fine for me. I think there was a time where I want to, I want to say like stamps I organized by, I don't want to say theme, I guess by brand. And I am kind of drifting or kind of drifting away from that and more I'm trying to think of a solution of like more like style. And so I'm kind of in the process of doing that right now. And then dies, I do have to talk about this because this is, this is one of those like, painful things when I opened my little die. It's like a little folder, and it has that it has a magnetic sheet on it. And they're, they just fly off. And so this is not working for me. And so I recently purchased some, actually Google, not googled I Youtubed, like dye solutions, or stamp and die solutions. And I saw where someone just kind of, like bought some magnetic sheets off of that were like, I think five by seven or something that coordinates with those, I think Avery Elle sleeves.
Jennifer Wilson 55:45
Ashley Fowler 55:46
I found some of those magnetic sheets. And I just got them off Amazon and I said, you know what I'm going to, I'm going to organize my dies by style. Whether they're like nesting circles, or ovals, or just kind of like my little random smaller pieces like hearts and other little shapes, I'm going to try to organize them by style. So that's also coming up shortly.
Jennifer Wilson 56:11
So in the end, will your stamps like especially, your clear stamps to be organized in a similar fashion with the same kind of pouch?
Ashley Fowler 56:17
That's kind of what, I had them by brand. And I think I'm in the midst of switching my right now my mindset is in the midst of shifting them to more like style. And so I like if I'm more likely to use them on traveler's notebook pages, and I want to, I want to organize them by that. Or if I'm more likely to, or if they're circular stamps, that I'm likely to use them on like an in like, you know, a piece of cork and punch them out with with my circle punch, then I may keep those together. And I haven't gotten that far yet. But once I do, I think that's my thought process is there by brand. But I don't remember what what all, you know, brands come out with or what all collections, what all stamps are in specific collections, that kind of thing. So I think by style will be easier for me. And so that would include like alpha, alphabet stamps would be in one style. And then like our one collection category, and then numbers would be in another category, and so on. So that's kind of what I'm thinking at this point. And I think I need to like set them all out and have a look at them and see you know, what will create its own category and what won't and what's kind of more miscellaneous. And so that's, that's something I haven't gotten to yet but I think it wasn't working for me with brands and then the die. Definitely the dies that I've had that for years, this little folder for years, and it's definitely not working for me either. So I started to have started already to transition those on to the smaller magnetic sheets at all, then stick in the Avery Elle sleeves.
Jennifer Wilson 57:55
Well, I think this approach makes a lot of sense because the more stamps that you get, the more that you can't flip through all of them every time you want to find a stamp set. You need to find some way to at least narrow down the choices like a grouping like this is kind of the thing I'm looking for. And maybe there is the absolute perfect stamp and another category but we don't have unlimited amounts of time to go look at every stamp set and evaluate what's the perfect one we just want to find something that's gonna work.
Ashley Fowler 58:24
Jennifer Wilson 58:26
So I think that can really help you like hone in on that. I've definitely done that, I've taken as you said more kind of like traveler's notebook smaller stamps and put those aside in a separate area versus ones that I would use more on like layouts. Right?
Ashley Fowler 58:40
Jennifer Wilson 58:41
I love that. Okay, here is like the grand finale question for you. If you had an unlimited budget, how would you organize your dream scrap space?
Ashley Fowler 58:52
You know, I think it would be so when I think about that I think of you know kind of clean design. Mostly like white like furniture with clear organizers. I don't know I think about that. And then I look at the like the feed of other craft rooms and I see all the color and I love that too but I think ultimately what would make me most happy would be clean, simple, large, like a large workspace. I think I would still keep my beloved acrylic drawers that I have. I think I would still keep those that I probably have. You know I probably clean out this the Amazon store with those just because I use those so often. And because they fit so many great products but I think I would have like white furniture, large space. A couple of different like work areas and maybe even if I'm getting like really I think high maintenance. I would have like a space for my just one little space for my Silhouette, one little space for my you know, my die cutting machine and then another one for my sewing machine. Because I find that that that is kind of one of the things that I have to keep switching around, like I need to pull myself this way, and I need to pull my typewriter down. And so I would have like little spots for each of those. And I could just like, quickly use them and then go back to my project and then lots of like lots of workspace. I find that that's part of my my issue is having, not feeling like I have enough workspace and the more I clean and the more I organize my desk, I find that I can have more if I just you know, put things away. But a big table, lots of like furniture, where I keep things put away. And then of course my clear clear bins and then my space for all my little tools that I use more frequently.
Jennifer Wilson 1:00:50
Yes, I think the workspace and having different workspaces that's so important because my sewing machine is set up in the bedroom on an ironing board, right? Not only can we not iron clothes, because the sewing machine is on it for making masks. It's there and it's just yeah, I get it. So the there's never enough like flat surfaces for all the things that we want to do as crafters.
Ashley Fowler 1:01:14
I love that.
Jennifer Wilson 1:01:15
Yeah. Well, thank you so much. This has been so delightful. One of our members actually recommended you to come on the show, cuz she said you were an inspiration to her own organizational journey. So I'm so glad we did this.
Ashley Fowler 1:01:28
Yay. Thank you for having me.
Jennifer Wilson 1:01:30
Yeah. And can you share where we can find you online or anything new or fun you have coming up?
Ashley Fowler 1:01:35
Yeah, so of course, I'm on Instagram. And I'm @ashley_laura_scraps. That's my Instagram, that's my crafty Instagram rather. And then I have a YouTube channel. And I'm just known as Ashley Laura on YouTube. And so I post, I try to create videos at least two times a week, if not three. That varies obviously with my family life and different things going on but and then I try to post at least one photo a day on my Instagram. So you can definitely follow me there. And then you can follow my my Youtube channel as well. And then some fun things coming up, I just say some more organizational videos, which I'm sure this will go perfect with this particular podcast. And then that'll be like showing kind of how I'm going to be organizing my dies during the process. And then also my stamps. And then I'm looking at redoing the Alex drawers. And I've already got the product to redo them. And then I'm looking at sharing that so some organization videos, but then also of course, my creative content as well, which is just creating processes and, of course my DIY embellishments because those seem to be the most popular among people. And I typically, you know, have people asking to create, for me to create more. And so that's something I'll be doing as well.
Jennifer Wilson 1:02:55
Oh fun. I love all the variety you have, and any of those organization videos that you come out with between the day we're recording when the podcast comes out, I will make sure to link in the show notes for our viewers as well, our viewers, no, our listeners. So...
Ashley Fowler 1:03:10
That sounds great.
Jennifer Wilson 1:03:11
Well, Ashley, thank you so much and to all of our listeners, please remember that you have permission to Scrapbook Your Way. If you like the podcast, you'll love being a member. When you join you'll get access to weekly Zoom crops, bimonthly retreats, and a huge content library. You can head over to simplescrapper. com/membership to learn more and join our creative community.
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