For years, I assumed every surface in our home was my personal playground–a place to display my unique style. I would fiddle and fret and change up each surface until I had it just right.

The dining room table had a grouping of pretty things.

The hearth was filled with baskets that were filled with pillows.

The coffee table was covered within an inch of its life with a curated collection of stacked books, a plant, cute seasonal tchotckes and a few favorite candles.

And don’t even get me started on the walls.

My house had absolutely ZERO breathing room and to do anything from starting a puzzle, folding laundry, working on homework or setting the table for dinner required first moving pretty things out of the way (to where? every other surface was full too) to create some space on a surface so we could use it.

I’m not saying it was ugly, or wrong.

I’m saying there’s another way.

I was worried I couldn’t get my cozy style without completely filling my house up with pretty things.

If your home is feeling a bit overwhelmed, or if you are moving pretty things around–even if they are organized and lovely–so that you can do daily things, maybe it’s time to assign some DESYs.

A DESY stands for Designated Empty Surface Yippie!

Now, every room in our house has a DESY: the coffee table, my dresser in our room, the dining table, the island in the kitchen–a surface that is allowed to go without being fully decorated so that it’s ready to serve.

These surface still looks pretty, because they are all surfaces I like. But I don’t require them to be full of pretty things that I have to move out of my own way three times a day.

Does this mean my coffee table, kitchen island and everything else are always empty? Nope.

But without the burden of holding collections of cute decor, they are always ready to serve and be used.

I let the mantle, the hutch, the side tables and such do the heavy lifting when it comes to displaying some pretty things.

If your surfaces are filled and you need some space, consider clearing off the most used surface in each room of your house and allowing it to be beautifully empty (or maybe holding just one plant if you want).

The goal isn’t for our surfaces to look perfectly styled at all times, nor is the goal for them to be empty at all times.

The goal is for them to be ready to serve us however we need.

Our surfaces declare our purposes.