88409hWhether you’re moving to a smaller new home or looking to make your current one feel larger, freeing up usable space is always a good idea. It’s even more important during the holiday season to accommodate guests and gifts. But sometimes expert help is necessary to decide what to toss and what’s worth keeping.

Tara Fingold, a Toronto-based interior designer, has been helping clients get the most out of their homes for over 20 years. Here are her top five recommendations for getting rid of clutter when downsizing in order to maximize your space and streamline your life:

  1. Repositioning pieces: Placing furniture in a room according to its function makes sense, but sometimes it’s best to get creative and reposition traditional pieces in untraditional ways. A living room chest of drawers could serve as a nightstand and provide you with additional storage in the bedroom.
  2. Books: If all your treasured books are taking up too much space, use a few favourites as décor. Place large hardcover books on a coffee table and add a decorative item on top of the stack for a true designer look. Opt for a cleaner aesthetic by removing the jackets from used books and line shelves both vertically and horizontally, leaving room for decorative elements like vases and candles between stacks. Save tons of space by storing books that don’t fit in digital format on a Kobo eReader.
  3. Multifunctional pieces: When downsizing, remember that many of your existing furniture pieces can serve more than one purpose. For example, you can combine the dining room and home office functions with a singly multipurpose table and using half of your buffet to store dinnerware and the other half to conceal paperwork.
  4. Built-ins: One of the best space-saving measures is to install floor to ceiling built-ins. It may be a big investment, but it’ll provide you with lots of storage and increase the value of your home. Be sure to customize the unit according to your individual needs.
  5. Purging: Only keep what you use on a regular basis and what you can store. Although we tend to collect pieces over time, it’s best to only keep what you need. Real estate is very costly, so be mindful to maximize every square foot.


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Canadian Home Trends magazine gives you a personal tour of the most stunning homes and condos across Canada. You'll be inspired by a selection of accessible home décor products, trend reports, simple yet stylish DIY projects, and much more. In each issue, you are given the tools to recreate designer spaces you've always dreamt of having at home, in-depth renovation and design advice, colour palette and furniture pairings, and Canada's best places to shop.