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    How to travel more safely during the pandemic.

    April 13, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021

    Pandemic safe vacation ideas | Schlage

    Even if you aren’t ready to jump on a plane or take a major trip, you still have plenty of options. Consider these safe travel alternatives to explore during the pandemic.

     

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    As cities begin to open up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are getting ready to travel. Even if you aren’t ready to jump on a plane or take a major trip, though, you still have plenty of options. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation, consider these travel alternatives.
    Dachshund wearing sunglasses laying in the sand on the beach.

    Road trip

    Limiting exposure to groups, especially those on an airplane where social distancing is next to impossible, is a good way to reduce risk of infection. That’s why the classic road trip has regained popularity in the last year. Skip the lines and packed public transportation by loading the family in the car and cruise the open highway. If you’re ready to splurge a bit, you might even decide to rent an RV, which also eliminates the need to book a hotel.

     

    Packing for a road trip requires a bit of extra planning. With the pandemic, bring along sanitizing wipes or liquid in case you need to clean up after using a rest stop or other public facility. Have some extra emergency supplies as well, including snacks and water, masks and roadside assistance supplies, in case some businesses and services aren’t fully operational yet.

     

    For more ideas on what to bring, read our list of favorite road trip gadgets to make your vacation safe and memorable.

    Family on road trip stop to view the water.

    Homesharing

    You might like the idea of escaping to an Airbnb or similar rental for your vacation. This alternative has a few upsides. You can check with the property manager beforehand about cleaning practices, so you know how safe it will be for you and your family. It’s also perfect when you need a change of scenery but aren’t quite ready to brave the crowds of an amusement park or spend a lot of time in restaurants. Choose a homesharing rental with all the amenities you might need – a kitchen for making your own meals and outdoor space for lounging or playing games, for example.

     

    Just like with the road trip, throw some extra sanitizing wipes and hand soap in your bag before you depart. If possible, contact the property manager with any questions about what will be provided at the house so you can plan accordingly. And don’t forget to ask these security questions before booking any vacation rental.

    Green tiny cabin in woods.

    House swap with a friend

    Simplify housesharing even more by swapping with friends for the week or weekend. It’s like the movie The Holiday but closer to home, with people you already know and more budget-friendly. You might find that you enjoy preparing for their visit, leaving little notes for them to find, stocking the fridge with their favorite foods or making sure they have whatever they need for a memorable getaway. An added bonus? They’re probably willing to pet sit for you while they’re there, so there’s no need to book a kennel or hire someone to keep an eye on Fluffy while you’re away.

     

    One way to make this even easier is with a smart lock. You can program a unique access code for your friend, so they don’t have to keep track of the keys to your house. With features like auto-lock, you also don’t have to worry that they might head out for the afternoon without securing your home first.

     

    Lastly, don’t forget to provide your pals with a cheat sheet for your smart devices. It’ll make everyone’s life easier.

    Friends standing in entryway of home with luggage.

    Voluntourism

    Many non-profit and charity organizations took a hard hit during the pandemic. As things begin to reopen, look for ways you can have a positive impact on your community. In some cases, you’ll be located in more remote areas or outdoors, so dense populations and crowds will be less of an issue. Plus, you’ll probably feel better knowing you improved someone’s life.

    Toddler picking up litter.

    Camping

    Ah, the great outdoors. Avoid hotels by planning a camping trip. It could be to a nearby state park, a recreation area farther afield or even in your own backyard. Being in nature is a great way to recharge and destress, two things we could all use a little of after the mess that was 2020.

    Camp setup with dutch oven over fire and view of mountains.

    Explore your own hometown

    Somewhere on the spectrum between an all-out trip and a staycation is exploring your hometown. You can stay at home or get a hotel. Then check out all those places you haven’t been since you were a kid or visit the attractions you’ve been meaning to get to but haven’t. You might be surprised how simply shaking up your routine can offer the same rejuvenating benefits of longer travel. Plus, you’ll be avoiding airports, highway rest stops and other germy places.

    Bed & Breakfast sign.

    Staycation

    Of course, when you’re looking for safe things to do during COVID, you can always stay put. There’s nothing wrong with recharging your physical and emotional batteries by laying low and relaxing at home. You might do a bit of exploring your own hometown, like we suggested above, or you could tackle some DIY projects during your staycation. It’s the perfect time to do what you want, when you want. No excuses or explanations necessary.

    Mom sitting on balcony with two toddlers.

    No matter where you’re going, trust that everything back home is safe and secure while you’re away. Find more vacation safety tips at the Schlage blog and check out our latest to see if Schlage’s 1953 travel advice still holds up in the modern world.

     

    13 DIY curb appeal projects to help you kickstart spring.

    April 9, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Friday, April 9, 2021

    Spring front porch curb appeal | Schlage

    Celebrate the beautiful weather by giving your home's curb appeal a little pep. Try one of these easy spring curb appeal projects and celebrate your hard work.

     

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    Spring is finally in full swing! Celebrate the beautiful weather by giving your home's curb appeal a little pep. Once you've checked off the most important tasks on your home improvement checklist, try one of these easy spring curb appeal projects and celebrate your hard work.
    Spring front porch swing with colorful pillows.

    1. Cedar planter » Shanty2Chic

    A cedar planter box is a quick way to add some color and sophistication to any porch. We especially love how Shanty2Chic added house numbers for an extra personal touch. Another idea is to add caster wheels to the planter, especially if you plan on filling it with a large pot or oversized foliage. It will make it easier to move the box as your décor changes with the seasons and to keep your porch clean.

    2. Vertical garden wall » The Handyman’s Daughter

    Vertical gardens are a great way to add some greenery without taking up a lot of space. That means they’re especially perfect décor for small front porches. This one not only gives you a stylish way to display smaller plants and flowers, but the base could double as a bench or storage for your gardening supplies. No more hauling tools from the garage or shed, just to tend your garden.

    3. Ocean stone mat » Tattooed Martha

    There are all kinds of creative ways to DIY a doormat, but we’re highlighting this one made from stone because we love the natural look. We see this as a perfect fit for a variety of homes, from Craftsman-style to Scandinese. Tattooed Martha made this mat for her bathroom, but there’s no reason you couldn’t re-create your own for the porch or mudroom.

    4. Recycled rubber doormat » Hoosier Homemade

    This is a good DIY project for kids that, when they’re done, the whole family can use. We’ve all seen these institutional-looking rubber doormats. They’re effective but not very attractive, so Hoosier Homemade used paint and a sealant to add color and fun. You could do a simple pattern like she did, or get more creative, adding a message in block lettering or creating a picture.

    5. Outdoor bench » My Daily Randomness

    We love 2-for-1 furniture and this bench with planters has us excited for spring. Who wouldn’t want to welcome guests with this there to greet them? This carpentry project is great for taking your front porch décor to the next level.

    6. Porch swing bed » Plank & Pillow

    Come springtime, you’ll be ready to spend plenty of time outdoors in the fresh air. In the summer, you’ll love to luxuriate in the cool evening breeze. For both of these “activities,” you need someplace comfy to sit, so we recommend a porch swing bed. Deeper than a traditional porch swing, this bed is perfect for soaking up the season with family and friends.

    7. Faux tile stenciled floor » Homestead 128

    You might think that changing the floor of your porch means tearing the whole thing down and starting over. Think again. Homestead 128 painted their concrete patio with stencils to create a tiled look. Don’t be intimidated by this DIY front porch décor project. Our tips for how to paint flooring can help, too.

    8. Straw tote spring “wreath” » Sadie Seasongoods

    Wreaths don’t have to be round or even true wreaths at all. What’s not to love about Sadie Seasongoods’ second-hand tote bag turned into a gorgeous spring floral arrangement? She chose artificial flowers, but you could use anything from your garden as well. And when you choose colors that complement your front door, your neighbors won’t be able to stop talking about your front porch style.

    9. Mailbox makeover » Beneath my heart

    There’s nothing wrong with a simple mailbox post, but the one in this “before” picture was a bit of an eyesore. Don’t worry about the expense and heavy lifting of the new stone post, though. Beneath My Heart used a stone cast mailbox post – sold as one piece that slips over a wooden beam – to boost her curb appeal.

    10. Wrapped porch posts » Addicted 2 Decorating

    If your ugly posts happen to be porch columns, this one’s for you. Addicted 2 Decorating wrapped her existing porch posts in lumber and built out some architectural detail to give them a more substantial and finished look. She learned a few hard lessons along the way, so be sure to check out her entire series. We’d say the effort was worth it, though.

    11. Flower bed edging » Garden World

    Stone pavers give any garden bed a more refined, finished look. They also help to keep the grass of your lawn from creeping into your beds, making maintenance easier in the long run. You might need a little muscle to complete this project, but you won’t regret the sweat.

    12. Chevron Lattice » Remodelaholic

    Making a lattice trellis or screen became a good skill to have in 2020 as we looked for new ways to create privacy at home. Remodelaholic was ahead of her time with this outdoor living tip. It’s beautiful on its own, but some climbing vines or flowers would take the look over the top. Build one for your porch or in your backyard for some added shade and privacy.

    13. Side door upgrade » Four Generations One Roof

    The most-used entrance in your home isn’t always the front door, so we wanted to show you how Four Generations One Roof made over their side door. A spring-y tulip wreath and the Schlage Encode™ Smart WiFi Deadbolt helped take this door from boring to both stylish and secure.

    What spring projects are you planning to tackle this weekend? Get more inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram, then show us your handywork.

     

    Time travel: Vacation safety tips from 1953 that still work.

    April 8, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Thursday, April 8, 2021

    Vacation home security then and now | Schlage

    We’re bringing back some classic travel safety tips from 1953 to see if they still hold up in the present day.

     

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    With the weather warming up and everyone itching to get out of the house (more than ever this year), we’re bringing back some classic travel safety tips to see if they still hold up in the present day.
    Home sweet home illustration.

    How to keep your home safe while on vacation: 1953 vs. Today

    Newspaper boy clip art.

    1. THEN: Tell your newsboy to stop delivery of daily papers until you return

     

    NOW: Most of us get our news online these days, but if you still love that inky fingertip feel, stick to the old-school advice and put a hold on your delivery.

    Milk boy clip art.

    2. THEN: Write—or phone—the milk company to stop deliveries. (P.S.—Don’t leave a note in an empty bottle. That’s a tip-off to a burglar that the coast is clear!)

     

    NOW: Go online and pause any meal delivery services you subscribe to. We’re not sure who would be collecting empty bottles from your porch today, but it’s probably best to still stick to that advice.

    Postman delivering mail clip art.

    3. THEN: Notify post office to hold up mail deliveries—or ask a neighbor to collect mail daily.

     

    NOW: This is still good advice. If you ask a neighbor and have a Schlage smart lock, be sure to share an access code, at least on a temporary basis, so they don’t have to wait to drop off any packages or envelopes.

    Retro clipart of man looking through keyhole.

    4. THEN: Close and lock all windows. Be sure all outer doors are securely locked.

     

    NOW: Maybe the best suggestion on this list then or now. The only thing we might add is to remember to turn on a security system if you have one.

    Retro clip art of lady with new fridge.

    5. THEN: Empty and turn off refrigerator, or turn regulator down to “vacation” mark.

     

    NOW: Unless you’re going to be gone for a month or more, leave the fridge alone. You can still dispose of or give away vegetables and other foods that will spoil before you return, but a full refrigerator is actually more energy efficient than an empty one these days.

    Retro clipart of two door stove.

    6. THEN: Check pilot lights on stoves and heaters. Better still, turn ‘em off. Be sure you’ve left no electric appliances connected that could overheat.

     

    NOW: Adjust your thermostat so your HVAC system isn’t working as hard while you’re taking R&R. A smart thermostat can help you control your home’s temperature from anywhere, even let you turn the heat back up the day before you return. Unplug energy vampire appliances as well.

    Window shades retro clipart.

    7. THEN: Leave window shades up and, if practical, at least one light burning where it can be seen from the street.

     

    NOW: This still holds true. Score extra security by setting that light on a timer, either with a smart plug or by making it part of a “vacation” routine with your home automation system.

    Retro clipart of police officer.

    8. THEN: Tell neighbors and police when you leave and when you’ll be back. (P.S.—We know a fellow who forgot to tell the police when he’d return; when they saw a light on in his house, he had a tough time convincing the cops he lived there!)

     

    NOW: Not all areas will dedicate police resources to monitoring your home while you’re on vacation anymore. Go ahead and ask neighbors to keep an eye on your home, however. You might also consider security cameras you can check remotely while you’re away.

    Retro clipart of couple shopping for new fridge.

    9. THEN: Worried about your freezer failing while you’re away? Leave a key with a friend or neighbor and ask them to check regularly.

     

    NOW: We can see where this would still be a concern for some. Like No. 5 above, donate perishables if you’re going to be away for more than a few weeks, just to be on the safe side. And like No. 3, give the neighbor a smart lock code instead of a key.

    Clearly, Schlage has been obsessed with safety since Day One. We wouldn’t still be here more than 100 years later if it weren’t for our passion of keeping homes and businesses safe. For more modern steps to help keep your home safe on vacation, visit the Schlage blog.

    How to throw a royal garden party on a common budget.

    April 7, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021

    Royal garden party ideas | Schlage

    Since most of us don’t have the royal resources to pull that off, here are Schlage’s hacks for hosting a royal garden party with an everyday budget.

     

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    There are backyard bashes, and then there are garden parties. Generally considered swankier events, garden parties have historically been soirees of the social elite. The Queen of England hosts two annually where she serves over 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 sandwiches and 20,000 slices of cake … at each. Since most of us don’t have the royal resources to pull that off, here are Schlage’s hacks for hosting a royal garden party with an everyday budget.
    Tulips in front of Buckingham Palace.

    Location

    Royal Version:

    The Queen hosts her parties at Buckingham Palace, which with almost 40 acres of gardens is the largest private garden in London, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, home to seven greenhouses, in Scotland.

    Your Version:

    Even if you don’t have Buckingham Palace at your disposal, your own backyard can be the perfect location. Vertical gardens with climbing plants can give the illusion of a walled English garden, for example. If your flower beds aren’t in hosting shape yet, try containers. Most home improvement stores will have some pre-made baskets and pots in the spring and summer. Choose blooms that suit your taste or in colors that fit your party theme, then arrange them to help transport your guests to another world full of fancy hats and fascinators. In addition to plants, consider adding a water feature – Buckingham Palace has a three-acre lake, after all – lighting like candles or lanterns, and outdoor heaters as needed to give your home that palatial garden feeling.

    Invitations & dress code

    Royal Version:

    The Queen’s garden parties are invitation-only, and potential recipients have to be nominated for an invitation by local governments, civic groups and faith organizations. Guests are expected to adhere to a strict dress code with morning coats for men and day dresses for the ladies.

    Your Version:

    Skip the nominations, even if you are an epic party planner, and simply send an e-invite or mail a handmade masterpiece. Make sure guests know it’s a garden party. No one wants their sink their new heels into the dirt because they didn’t realize they’d be outside. If you want a dress code but don’t want to seem pushy, ask guests to choose attire based on a theme, such as floral dresses for a flower-themed garden party. Especially if you’re asking friends to dress outside the norm, send your invitations a few weeks in advance.

    Family dinner party in backyard.

    Food & drink

    Royal Version:

    Jam pennies and ham and mustard sandwiches are reportedly among the Queen’s favorites. There’s also a strict no-alcohol policy at her garden parties.

    Your Version:

    If you don’t know – and don’t care – what a jam penny is, stick to something you already know, love and can prepare easily. The last thing you want is to be fussing with tiny sandwiches when you should be socializing with your guests. As for drinks, a traditional garden party calls for tea. For your version, large batches of lemonade or cocktails can be refreshing for summer parties, and they require little extra effort on your part.

    Mason jar drinks.

    No matter your taste, consider these garden party dining tips:

     

    • If the weather’s hot, avoid foods that will spoil quickly in the sun.

    • Buffet-style serving saves you time and allows for guests to mingle more.

    • Whether cocktails, mocktails or a pot of Earl Gray, stock a bar cart for all your guests’ libation needs.

    • Freeze water balloons and put them in the drink cooler. Cans and bottles will stay cold, and guests won’t have to dig for beverages in the slush.

    • Keep bugs out of drinks and off food. Mesh domes for platters or cupcake wrappers to top drinks are a few budget-friendly options.

    • There’s no royal decree against a potluck garden party, so don’t be afraid to ask friends to chip in.

    Tablescape

    Royal Version:

    The Queen comes prepared for her garden parties with lengths of tents, and we can only imagine the elaborate floral arrangements, china tea cups and silver platters heaped with treats you might find under them.

    Your Version:

    You can always go with one big table, family style, but don’t discount lounge seating, especially if you want your guests to mingle casually. Pillows and blankets on the grass might also work for you. With these smaller conversation hubs, be sure guests have someplace to sit their drinks and plates.

     

    When it’s time to decorate. Flower arrangements are tried-and-true for garden parties. You might make them your centerpiece or include them in name tags if you have assigned seating. Martha Stewart suggests an herb centerpiece – they can be just as fragrant – for when you want a more original look.

    Entertainment

    Royal Version:

    When the Royal Family arrives at their garden party, a military band plays the national anthem.

    Your Version:

    Create a playlist on Spotify or another favorite music service. If you have an Alexa-enabled Bluetooth speaker outdoors, you’ll be able to easily control the ambience from your phone or with just a quick word to the voice assistant. Make sure your playlist sets the appropriate mood, whether you’re going for upbeat and fun or more calming.

     

    If your guests include children, or even fun-loving adults, a few simple yard games might also be a good idea. And if party favors are up your alley, House Beautiful suggests a flower-arranging station that not only fits the flower-themed garden party, but also gives guests an activity and a gift to take home. Plus, you don’t need to hire a florist or toil away at making bouquets yourself beforehand.

    Looking for more party inspiration? Try our blog for stylish and simple backyard party ideas, or find us on Pinterest for even more tips that’ll help you transform your home for the outdoor entertaining event of the year.

     

    1 year later: How the pandemic reshaped our homes.

    April 5, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Monday, April 5, 2021

    Scandinavian living room | Schlage

    A year since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re looking back at some of those changes and looking forward at what to expect in 2021.

     

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    We don’t need to remind you how many days, hours and minutes you spent at home in 2020. These unprecedented times meant that we dramatically changed how we used our homes – how we designed them, lived in them, made them work for our “new normal.” A year since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re looking back at some of those changes and looking forward at what to expect in 2021.
    Scandinavian living room.

    Common ways we changed our homes for COVID

    We expected a lot from our homes in 2020. Sometimes we literally reshaped them, remodeling to meet our new needs, while other times it was all about adding temporary touches to make lives more convenient and comfortable.

    Rooms that got the most makeovers

    Two rooms that got the most attention in 2020 were kitchens and home offices. Kitchen extensions and updates were among the most searched-for inspiration in the last year and it makes sense. Without being able to dine at restaurants, we needed to tighten up our own culinary skills and we needed our space to help us do that. We created new layouts to for better use of space, installed kitchen banquettes and invested in new appliances like that fancy coffee maker or air fryer to add convenience.

    It shouldn’t be a surprise to see home offices on this list as many of us were now working from home. It might have been a converted guest room, the dining room or a closet-turned-office. In fact, “cloffice” became a word. One of Schlage’s first blog posts during the COVID era was about creating the ideal office space.
    Just as important, however, we were also looking for ways to create workspaces for the rest of the family, too. Kids doing e-learning now needed an office of their own, free from distractions for their own Zoom calls.
    Boy sitting at table doing school work.

    Increased privacy

    With everyone working, playing, eating, crafting and everything else at home, we soon discovered that our beloved open floorplans maybe weren’t so great after all. Adding privacy because a priority, whether it was because we needed to be able to focus on work or because we just needed a break from others in the house. Many of us installed privacy screens and curtains, created temporary walls with large furniture such as bookshelves and added backyard fences.

    Functional, and multifunctional, must-haves

    We sought more and more ways to make our homes pull double- and triple-duty. Spaces no longer had to just be functional, they needed to be multifunctional. The same went for our furniture. The kitchen table had to be ready for breakfast, then math class, then dinner, all in the same day and with minimal fuss. Our basements still needed storage, but it had work smarter since the space was now also our home gym.

    Mood-boosting décor

    Not every decision was only about function, though. Because we were pining for the days of travel, visiting family and friends, and celebrating holidays and birthdays, we were determined to surround ourselves with good memories. We added more meaningful décor and photos as well as customized furniture that allowed us to display them to full effect. And so began the rise of shelfies.

    Smart convenience and entertainment

    Smart devices became a bigger part of our daily routines. Sometimes we were looking for greater convenience as we started to feel the pressure of balancing work, homeschooling, cooking every meal and taking care of others. Sometimes we were looking for more ways to stay entertained and we needed the technology to pull off another watch party or play games online with long-distance friends.

    Friends and cat on zoom call.
    According to experts, the most popular technology in 2020 targeted entertainment – home theaters and gaming systems, for example – and digital health devices. Looking at smart devices in particular, security systems, smart garage door openers and smart lighting saw the largest sales gains in 2020.

    “Alexa, what are some things to do during quarantine?”

    Because we weren’t going out nearly as much, we spent a lot of time Googling things to do during quarantine, ways to keep the kids busy and how to host people for special occasions when we were supposed to be social distancing.

     

    Some of the most-searched terms during 2020 were “how to paint” and “how to build.” Schlage offered its suggestions for the best DIY projects for using leftover paint and tips for painting doors and floors. Eventually, perhaps because our confidence in our DIY skills was growing, “how to fix” became a popular search, too.

     

    You can read more of Schlage’s blogs here, starting with some of our favorites like how to boost your mood with a style lift and how to use your home to save money during quarantine. You might also like:

    Looking forward to 2021 home décor trends

    We likely still have some time before we’re in the clear, and even then, who knows what our new normal will look like. As 2021 progresses, consider some of these expert picks for what to expect from home décor moving forward.

    Décor for mental health

    This trend got its start during the pandemic when we were all feeling the stress. Bathrooms-turned-spas were hugely popular as we looked for new ways to escape and relax. That should only continue as we now realize just how important our mental and emotional wellbeing are.

    In addition to spa-like spaces, the top colors of 2021 are inspired by the soothing qualities of nature. We’re seeing lots of blues, greens and browns. At the same time, you have the opportunity to go for something bolder, as there’s also a healthy mix of vibrant colors intended to bring more fun into our lives.

     

    Wallpaper and textured accent walls are also trending highly now. This is likely due to our desire to customize the space we spend so much time in. We aren’t dismissing neutral walls entirely, but they’re offset with a large-print wallpaper – often inspired by the Art Deco or Grandmillenial styles – and eye-catching original paint jobs.

    Lighting will also remain high on people’s priority list, whether it’s to reduce eye strain while working from home or by adding therapy lamps and other lighting to boost our moods.

    Customized spaces

    When privacy in our own homes became a challenge, we started to think much more intentionally about how we actually use our space. If we don’t want an open floorplan anymore, what do we want? As homeowners take on remodeling projects in 2021, expect to see customized layouts that fit a family’s unique needs, whether that’s dedicated office space, a home gym or even an accessory dwelling unit.

    Exterior shed turned art studio.

    Urban gardening

    Pandemic plants became a thing in 2020. Many of us tested our green thumbs with container gardening, vegetable patches and indoor houseplants. Urban gardening is predicted to take off even more, particularly as we get into the warmer months of 2021. Love the Garden analyzed popular Instagram searches and expects an uptick in interest around organic gardening, growing your own (fill in the blank) and vertical gardening, all important to homeowners in urban areas or who are limited on space.

    Container garden with tomato plants.

    Trends are ever-changing, especially during times like these where they only thing we can really expect is the unexpected. Stay on top of what you need to make your home and life more convenient, secure and stylish. Visit our blog or find us on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

     

    Home improvement projects to complete in April.

    April 2, 2021 6:15 AM by emily.bailey

    Friday, April 2, 2021

    April home improvement checklist | Schlage

    Take advantage of the revitalizing season and tackle these projects for a safer, cleaner, happier home.

     

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    The birds are singing, the grass is finally looking greener and you can feel new life blooming around you every day. Spring is here. Take advantage of the revitalizing season and tackle these projects for a safer, cleaner, happier home.
    Daffodils in vase in living room.

    Indoor home checklist

    It’s spring cleaning time! Tackle these interior DIY and home improvement projects today.

    checkbox Check safety devices and replace batteries.

    This includes smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well as fire extinguishers, radon detectors and smart locks. Make sure they’re still working and install new ones as necessary.

     

    checkbox Declutter.

    Like we said, it’s spring cleaning time. Work room by room, closet by closet or whatever strategy helps you stay focused. Trash anything that’s broken, donate items that are still in good shape but go unused in your house and properly store or display what you decide to keep. Don’t be pressured into thinking you have to finish your whole home in one weekend. Make a schedule you can stick to until you complete the job.

     

    checkbox Clean the basement.

    If your basement becomes the repository for all the stuff that doesn’t have anywhere else to go, it’s time to spring clean and purge. You might add storage that keeps the dampness and dirt away from belongings, particularly if your basement is unfinished or prone to flooding.

     

    checkbox Inspect screens.

    If you left window and door screens up throughout the winter, they might have taken a beating by the weather. Check them for tears. Replace or repair as needed before spring bugs sneak in. April is usually a good time to buy replacement windows, too, so this might be the perfect time for an upgrade.

     

    checkbox Clean trash bins.

    Whether in your garage or the kitchen, a smelly trash can is just gross. Thoroughly wash the bins with a combination of distilled vinegar, dishwashing soap and warm water. Use a scrub brush, ideally one with an extendable handle so you don’t have to dive in, to loosen up all the gunk, then rinse or hose it out. Do the same with recycling bins.

     

    checkbox Clean the garage.

    Store any winter gear you no longer need and take inventory of your warm-weather items. When it comes time to garden or take on outdoor DIY projects, you want to be able to find the right tool easily. Include maintenance in your inventory, too. Remove rust from tools, install new lighting above your workbench and add safe storage for oil and other toxic materials.

     

    checkbox Make a pet first aid kit.

    April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. Learn the best techniques for taking care of your pet in an emergency and make them their own first aid kit. Ask your vet for suggestions and advice on what to include.

     

    Outdoor home checklist

    It’s time to get outside and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer.

    Early spring home exterior

    checkbox Secure railings, stairs and walkways

    This is a task we recommend several times a year since it’s so important to safety. Now that winter is over, double-check that everything is still structurally sound. You might find new cracks in the sidewalk or nails that have worked their way loose when wood warped. Make the necessary repairs not only to avoid fall hazards, but also to boost your curb appeal.

     

    checkbox Test the irrigation system.

    Make sure frozen ground didn’t harm your sprinkler system. If you plan to change your landscaping, also decide if your current setup will still be effective at keeping your lawn and plants healthy. If you don’t already have your irrigation system on a timer or synced with your smart home system, consider those options now. They can often help you conserve water, keep plants healthier and add convenience to your daily life.

     

    checkbox Play with perennials.

    Now is the time to plant new perennials and divide old ones. Depending on where you live, you might also plant some annuals. If nighttime temperatures still get pretty low in your area, though, start with potted flowers and hold off transplanting them into beds. Regardless of your zone, however, everyone can start or turn over their compost heap.

     

    checkbox Refresh spring curb appeal.

    Think beyond plants and give your mailbox and front porch a facelift. Try hanging a beautiful spring wreath, upgrade porch lighting or replace your mailbox with something that matches your style.

     

    checkbox Clean gutters and downspouts.

    Clean and repair your gutters and downspouts to avoid water damage to your home during these April showers. Make sure water is directed away from your home and its foundation to avoid leaks, mold and soil runoff.

     

    checkbox Power wash siding.

    A good scrub will bring new life to your home’s exterior. It’s a great alternative if painting isn’t in the budget. And if you are going to paint, you’ll want the surfaces to be spotless first anyway.

     

    checkbox Control mosquitoes, termites and other pests.

    Mosquitoes like standing water, so address any drainage issues you have in your yard now. Also inspect your property for termites, burrowing critters and other pests than can wreak havoc on your woodwork and garden.

    For the future

    There’s so much to look forward to in the upcoming months. Will you be ready?

    Suitcase packed for vacation.

    checkbox Schedule A/C maintenance.

    You might not be ready to switch on the air conditioner just yet, but you’ll want to be ready when the temperatures spike. Schedule a professional to make sure everything is working as efficiently as possible. You might even get them in for maintenance now to avoid the rush.

     

    checkbox Get vacation-ready.

    Maybe you’re heading out of town for spring break or planning for your summer road trip. Secure your doors and windows, upgrade your mechanical deadbolts to a smart lock, install a video doorbell or some combination of the above to keep your home safe while you’re on vacation. You can also connect with your neighbors or trusted friends. See if they’ll keep an eye on your home, watch pets and water plants while you’re away. Read this for more ways to keep your home safe while you’re on vacation.

    For the greater good

    Not all those in need are people. Earth Day is April 22, so lend a hand to the environment and your favorite creatures, too.

    Bee hotel.

    checkbox Plant a bee and butterfly garden.

    You’ll get to enjoy some beautiful blooms while also helping to balance the ecosystem. By choosing flowers that attract bees and butterflies, you’re supporting plant diversity that the environment needs to thrive.

     

    checkbox Volunteer for a park cleanup.

    Many communities will be getting their parks and recreation areas ready for the summer. Lend a hand on local projects so that everyone can enjoy the great outdoors.

    In case you missed it

    If you missed our March home improvement checklist, start with these DIY and organizational tasks.

    checkbox Store winter gear.

    As the temperatures rise, stow extra throw blankets, your heaviest comforters and winter clothes. Before packing them all up, though, inspect them for damage, wash them and donate what you no longer need.

     

    checkbox Tune up the mower.

    Make sure the blade is sharp and ready for the first trim of the season and refuel or charge your mower. If it’s been a while since you took it for a professional tune-up, now might be the time.

    Time to buy

    The stores know you’re itching to get outside, so they often mark down the tools you need to improve your curb appeal. That’s why they’re among the items Consumer Reports identifies as the best purchases for April.

    checkbox Appliances: Vacuum cleaners, carpet cleaners, grills

     

    checkbox Home goods: Replacement windows

     

    checkbox Tools: String trimmers, pressure washers, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, tractors, chainsaws

    Need more ideas for budget-friendly landscaping, spring curb appeal or projects to do around the house this month? Find them at the Schlage blog or follow us on Pinterest.

     

    The best door hardware for pet projects of any size.

    April 1, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Thursday, April 1, 2021

    Best door hardware for tiny pets | Schlage

    We now offer door hardware for your tiniest furry friends: hamsters.

     

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    Schlage has long been renowned for its style and design. The push-button lock, invented and patented by founder Walter Schlage in 1920, was all about solving an everyday problem. We continue to craft quality locks that are easy to use, while also making a name for ourselves for the style and the visual appeal of our door hardware.

     

    In the 1950s and 60s, Schlage acquired several door hardware manufacturers, including the Peabody Company. Already with a reputation for eye-catching designs, the Peabody Hardware Company helped Schlage capture even more custom made-to-order business. One of the most striking examples surviving today are these lobster door pulls. Made of solid bronze and weighing 40 pounds, they were originally designed for a sea-themed hotel and restaurant.

    Schlage lobster door pull.

    Continuous innovation in style

    As the housing and building industry changes, Schlage strives to not only keep up with trends but to be a leader of those changes as well. Research teams tirelessly investigate the ebb and flow of fashion to make sure our customers have the look and feel they most desire. We want to create the products that are most important to you.

     

    We know that for many of you, your pets are as much a part of your family as anyone else. We’ve shown you porch puppies and provided tips to help keep your pets safe during the holidays. Now, we offer door hardware for your tiniest furry friends: hamsters.

    Secure homes for your beloved pets

    With some companies already making custom-made hamster villas, Schlage recognizes that pet security can be play an integral role in making sure your hamsters and gerbils feel safe in their homes. On April 1, Schlage is releasing the Litill lever, perfect for tiny hands that lack opposable thumbs. There’s also the Schlage Jerbo. This smart lock uses retinal scans of your rodent pals’ beady little eyes to help protect their favorite carrot and seed treats.

    Schlage Litill lever for hamsters.
    Schlage Jerbo knob for hamsters.

    It is anticipated that Schlage’s new pet line will be a … small … run, so you won’t want to wait to get yours. There are three things to remember when making your purchase.

     

    1. This new hardware comes in a variety of finishes to complement nearly any coat color, from the golden Syrian hamster to the Roborovski dwarf hamster and everywhere in between.

    2. Even the smallest detail can make a big impact in the style of your home. Your little buddy will appreciate the extra steps you take to make his villa feel comfortable and luxurious.

    3. Happy April Fool’s Day!

    Believe it or not

    Note that except for Schlage producing miniature door hardware for rodents, all parts of this story are true. We have been crafting durable and stylish door hardware for more than a century, and yes, that does include door pulls shaped like lobsters. For more true Schlage history, visit Schlage.com/100. And have a fun day!

     

    Door locks for tiny hamsters. Find out about Schlage's new line of tiny door hardware for pets - the year's best innovation, just in time for April Fool's.

     

    Quick and easy ideas for updating closet doors.

    March 29, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Monday, March 29, 2021

    Closet door makeovers | Schlage

    Even the smallest closet can feel luxurious when they work right for you. Try these ideas for updating closet doors.

     

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    They might not be a room, but closets are just as important as any other space in your home. We’re betting you’ve never toured a house and said, “It was nice, but those closets were just too big.” It’s more than just size that counts, though. You want them to look good, too. You can make a serious organizational effort, invest in pretty bins and commit to only using matching hangers. But you’ll also want to pay attention to your closets’ doors.

     

    Cheap bifold closet doors that stick when you’re trying to open or close them will make it feel like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed every day. A door knob that doesn’t latch properly so that your cat sneaks in and leaves his hair all over tomorrow’s shirt for work will get annoying really fast. Even the smallest closet can feel luxurious when they work right for you. Try these ideas for updating closet doors.

    Reclaimed wood sliding barn door closet doors.

    Start with a new door

    The kind of door can have a big impact on what your closet looks like. Those bifold doors we mentioned earlier make us think of our first (and not very lux) apartment. Look for a door with a grander style. French doors, especially for larger or walk-in closets, will have you feeling chic. If your room is tight on space, consider something on a sliding track, such as a pocket door or barn door.

    Give new life to an old closet door

    When replacing the entire door isn’t in the cards or the budget, try giving the existing one a makeover. Hollow core doors tend to look cheap because they usually are. Try our tips for making hollow core doors look expensive. It might be as simple as a creative paint job.

    Repair squeaky hinges

    No matter what type of door you have, if your hardware isn’t at peak performance, you’ll feel the frustration. For starters, replace or repair the hinges. Make sure they’re aligned so the door shuts properly and take care of that squeak. Next, look at your door knob or lever. Does the knob turn correctly or does it stick? Does the lever droop? Does it latch properly or swing open just enough to let the cat in?

    Find the right function

    Take a minute to decide which function you want in your door hardware. Hall and closet door hardware, sometimes labeled as a passage function, does not lock. Another option is bed and bath, or privacy function, which does lock, usually with a push button. And then there’s a non-turning door knob or lever. These are primarily for decoration and often used on one side of a French door or on pantries. Which function you choose depends on what you’re storing in your closet and how much security or privacy you prefer.

    Style your door with details

    Now let’s talk door hardware styles. Schlage offers a variety of designs perfect for traditional to contemporary homes and everywhere in between. Do you like the shine and glamor of glass door knobs? Try the Schlage Custom™ Alexandria or Hobson knob. How about a more modern lever? Check out the Schlage Latitude lever.

     

    Don’t forget about the door hardware’s finish either. That can make just as big a statement as the knob or lever itself. One of our newer finishes, Matte Black, is great in many homes because of its versatility and ability to fit a range of styles. But we also have warmer golden tones, like brass, or cooler silver finishes like chrome and nickel so you can choose whatever look makes you feel unique.

    Dining room with double closet doors and Schlage levers.

    Remember your other closets

    It’s easy to get tunnel vision and only think about bedroom closets. While you certainly shouldn’t ignore those, remember that other closets in the home can benefit just as much from a door makeover.

     

    • Laundry “room” – It’s not uncommon to convert a larger closet or a nook into a laundry room. Instead of it feeling like you jammed some appliances somewhere random, get a finished look with stylish door hardware for your new space.

    • Hall closet – You’ll notice the mismatch when you replace one door knob in a hallway and it doesn’t it’s different from all the others. It just might drive you batty. When you look down the hall and see every door – hall or linen closet, bathroom, bedrooms – with matching hardware, you’ll feel good about the cohesive style selection you’ve made.

    • Entryway coat closet – Just like you coordinate the hardware in your hallway, think about matching the door hardware in your foyer to your front door handleset. Again, it’s about achieving a stylish, cohesive look throughout the home.

    • Closet with extra security – Some closets store more than just clothes. Maybe it’s a garage with antifreeze and other toxic materials. Maybe you need to protect sensitive documents in a home office. When this is the case, consider an electronic lock for extra security that you can control.

    We know that sometimes you have to see it to believe it. Find inspiration for updating your doors, closets or otherwise, by following Schlage on Pinterest and Instagram.

     

    Green renovation ideas for an eco-friendly home.

    March 26, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Friday, March 26, 2021

    Green renovation ideas | Schlage

    Use this guide to simplify the process if sustainability is on your must-have list for a remodel or new build.

     

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    There’s so much to consider during a renovation. What do you want to do and can you afford it? Should you do it yourself or hire a professional? How do find a contractor you can trust? Which shade of blue is better for your walls? The details can get overwhelming, especially if you also want your renovation to be environmentally friendly. Use this guide to simplify the process if sustainability is on your must-have list for a remodel or new build.
    Woman painting wall green.

    Pick sustainable materials

    Materials is one of the biggest expenses for both your budget and the environment during a remodel. There are a few things to factor in when choosing eco-friendly building materials and supplies. First, the material itself should come from a sustainable source. Cork and bamboo, for example, are some of the most sustainable materials for flooring and countertops. The tree isn’t even damaged when cork is harvested. When choosing other kinds of lumber, look for those that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

     

    Recycled and reclaimed materials are even better. Recycled glass and ceramic tile can make for some gorgeous and unique backsplashes for your kitchen and bath. Reclaimed wood has been super-popular for accent walls, Farmhouse-style kitchen tables and fireplace mantels for several years now.

     

    Weigh your options when it comes to synthetic versus natural materials. You might think natural is always the way to go, and that’s usually the case. However, more-durable manmade materials have their advantages if they keep you from having to replace something frequently. We would put composite decking – a mixture of wood paste and recycled plastic – in this category.

    Choose clean materials

    Just because something is “sustainable” doesn’t automatically mean it’s good for the environment or your health. Making this even tougher is that there’s no single standard or organization that certifies materials as “natural” or “organic.” That being said, there are some chemicals we know we should avoid.

     

    When painting, look for ones labeled as being free of or low in VOCs. Volatile organic compounds are hazardous chemicals that can release fumes and leak into the environment as the paint gets damaged or deteriorates. VOC-free paint is both kinder to Mother Nature and less likely to affect your own health. No matter what kind of paint you choose, dispose of leftovers appropriately. Most cities have facilities you can drop off your half-used cans.

     

    Pay attention to furniture, fabrics and other household products with formaldehyde. According to the Centers for Disease Control, homes with new products and new construction have the higher levels of formaldehyde thanks to manufactured wood in goods like flooring and furniture. You also find it in permanent press fabrics and some glues, paints and caulks.

     

    Look for furniture, cabinetry and flooring made without urea-formaldehyde (UF) glues and insulation without UF foam. Pressed-wood products – think particle board – should meet ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) or no added formaldehyde (NAF) requirements.

    Reuse what already exists

    This is your excuse to hit up the yard sales, antique malls and vintage shops. It’s about keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill. You can find perfectly good, not to mention stylish and unique, furniture and décor secondhand.

     

    Don’t forget to reuse things you already own, too. If you’re replacing the cabinets in your kitchen, can you use them elsewhere? Go easy with the sledgehammer and relocate them as a new bathroom vanity or as part of your workbench in the garage. A chair could be given new life with updated upholstery. Door hardware could be transformed into new, unique décor. Take a creative eye to your belongings before you automatically put them in the trash.

    Aim for energy efficiency

    There are so many reasons to aim for energy efficiency – less strain on the power grid, smarter use of water and non-renewable resources, and financial savings to name a few. Let’s take this room by room.

     

    The kitchen is a great place to look for energy-efficient solutions. All those appliances pull a lot of juice off the grid. Choose Energy Star-rated refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers when you can. And think about where you put them. If it’s possible to place your refrigerator where it won’t be in direct sunlight, it will use less energy to keep everything cold.

    In the bathroom, look for ways to conserve water. Low-flow toilets use less water without affecting how well it flushes. Shower and sink faucets can also be low-flow. Consider a tankless water heater as well. You’ll get hot water for your showers on-demand without the heater working constantly.
    Quality doors and windows are hugely important when it comes to energy efficiency, particularly because heating and cooling usually accounts for the largest portion of our electric bills. Install triple-pane glass for the best window insulation, choose window frames made from wood or fiberglass that transfer less heat or cold, or simply fix existing drafty doors and windows.

    Continue to control the temperature in your home with insulation, not just in the walls, but in the attic, basement and crawl spaces as well. Be sure to choose environmentally friendly insulation as some come packed with harmful chemicals.

     

    Finally, look for smart home technology that can help monitor and control your energy usage. Smart thermostats come to mind immediately here. Smart bulbs on a timer or included in a routine can help reduce the amount of time an empty room is illuminated. Smart irrigation systems allow you to only water your lawn when it needs it. Some of these devices might not have a huge impact individually, but working together, over time, you may see improvements.

     

    A final note on energy efficiency. The price tag of some energy efficient solutions can be large. Keep in mind that while you may be spending more up front, you’ll still be saving money in the long run via reduced energy bills. The savings will come.

    Pay attention to the details

    Small details can add up. Do your due diligence from the start to make sure your project has the kind of impact you expect.

     

    Our first tip applies more to building a new home, but you also might find it helpful if you’re considering an addition. Be realistic about how much space you really need. Larger homes will have a larger impact, and not always a good one, on the environment. Smaller spaces require fewer materials, which means less waste during the build, and less stress on the grid when it comes to heating and cooling. It’s one of the reasons that many people are drawn to tiny houses.

    You’ll also want to find a contractor or builder with a history of eco-friendly practices. Don’t waste your time trying to convince a carpenter why they should use a certain kind of wood to meet your standards. Start your project with one that cares about the same things you do and is committed to sourcing their materials and disposing of waste responsibly.

     

    Choose items that can be repaired piecemeal. Take flooring, for example. If just part of the carpet gets damaged, do you really want to replace the entire thing? When you opt for carpet tiles, it’s simple to replace only what’s damaged instead of ripping the entire thing up and throwing away perfectly good material.

    If landscaping is on your to-do list, only plant native species for your region. They put less strain on the environment and even help revitalize a biome that has been damaged by invasive species and human impact. This could include flowering plants that attract beneficial insects or certain varieties of grass. When sodding your lawn, choose a variety that doesn’t require lots of watering if you live in an arid climate, for example. If your area is prone to drought, you might forgo grass altogether.

     

    Like we said, there’s a lot to consider, but the effort is worth it when you see the savings both for the environment and your wallet. If you’re ready to take it a step farther, check out what you need for a passive house and find more green home improvement suggestions at the Schlage blog.

     

    Hop into spring with these Easter porch décor ideas.

    March 25, 2021 9:02 AM by emily.bailey

    Thursday, March 25, 2021

    Easter porch decor | Schlage

    Even if you aren’t sure you’re able to change your home’s energy, you can be confident that these suggestions will still give your curb appeal and entryway a boost.

     

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    Spring is the season of new beginnings, from blooming flowers and baby animals to fresh outlooks on what we want for our lives and home. It’s a time to add bright colors and renewed energy to our décor in hopes of adding joy to our daily lives. Whether you’re simply welcoming the new season or trying to lure the Easter bunny to your front door, try some of these spring curb appeal ideas.
    Green wreath with Easter eggs.

    Bunny wreath » Sprinkle some fun

    You probably saw a similar DIY snowman wreath back in the winter, and now Sprinkle Some Fun has the spring version – a grapevine bunny wreath with sweet little flowers and a ribbon bow to complete the look. Hang this on your front door or any wall, inside or out.

    Reclaimed Wood Easter Bunny » My Recipe Confessions

    Using reclaimed wood for DIY projects is always a good idea, especially if you’re looking for ways to reduce waste while also keeping your home looking great. This tutorial shows us how to make an adorable bunny out of scrap wood. It also includes a stand, so you can move it around – from your porch to the front yard, maybe peeking out from behind the bushes – and save the door for your favorite spring wreath.

    Decoupage Egg Garland » Purely Katie

    Garlands aren’t just for Christmas, as Purely Katie shows us here. She decoupaged some foam eggs and attached them to store-bought greenery for this easy craft. When choosing your garland greens, though, be sure to pick something light and delicate looking instead of winter evergreens. You can then hang this along stair railings, around your door frame or on a mantel if you want to bring your spring décor inside.

    Rainbow Egg Wreath » The House that Lars Built

    If you’re into bright colors and less traditional wreaths, this one’s for you. Grab some crepe paper in multiple colors, papier mache eggs and a wreath frame, and you’re on your way to this customized door décor. We love the versatility of this wreath, too. The colors are entirely up to you. Plus, it’s a subtle nod to Easter, perfect if the holiday décor isn’t really your thing but you still want to be festive.

    Easter Egg Topiary » Celebrate and Decorate

    Topiaries and container gardens are very popular right now. They’re so easy to transition from season to season so your curb appeal is always on point. Celebrate and Decorate shows us how to make a topiary with giant eggs and artificial flowers. It’s a fun take on an otherwise traditional approach to curb appeal.

    Upcycled chick planters » Parents

    Who cares if the chicken or the egg came first when you have something this cute? Despite being on the smaller side for porch décor, these chicks would make the perfect addition to a patio table or windowsill that needs a little seasonal touch. Fill them with your favorite artificial flowers or something from your garden.

    Wooden Yard Carrots » Instructables

    Even brown thumbs can enjoy giant carrots this year! If you have some carpentry skills, we recommend this garden DIY. You don’t need a big yard or vegetable patch, either. Try tucking these into larger container gardens, along walkways or around your mailbox, too.

    DIY Easter Door Mat » The 2 Seasons

    Don’t forget the real estate on the ground, especially if April showers are common in your area. The 2 Seasons’ stenciled bunny door mat is simple enough you can probably recruit your kids to put their personal touch on it. The hardest part will be wiping your shoes on those adorable little cotton tails.

    Rain Boot Vase » On Sutton Place

    Few things say “spring” like a beautiful bunch of blooming flowers. To take your porch décor to the next level, though, arrange them in a container that’s also inspired by the season. On Sutton Place packed flowers into rain boots, but you could also hang an upside-down umbrella on your door and fill it with your favorite blooms, or use a watering can as a planter.

    Easter Bunny Door » East Coast Mommy

    Lastly, try decorating the door itself. Just a few paper cutouts transform this entranceway into a giant bunny that’s sure to make everyone smile. We don’t think you have to have a white door to pull this off, either. Embrace whatever color you have or pick a different critter for an entirely different look. That yellow door is just asking to be a friendly chick, coral or turquoise doors could be Peeps, or a green door could transform into a bed of grass for stick-on Easter eggs.

    Find more budget-friendly spring porch décor ideas at the Schlage blog. You can also hop over to Instagram and Pinterest for a basketful of inspiration.

     

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