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pick up the pieces

Redeem a bad situation, restore matters to normal, as in Once fighting ended, the task force picked up the pieces and restored democracy. [Late 1800s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.