After announcing that Olay and Go Mighty have generously sponsored my goal, I have to admit: I kind of freaked out. I’m excited! But the process of writing down steps and ideas about how to accomplish a long-time goal is scary and exciting all at once.

As I sat down to plot out my journey for the next few months as I pursue this goal, I came up a little bit empty handed: what exactly does “feel sexy” mean to me? At first I felt really confused because I realized that I didn’t want to use a typical definition of sexy that was all heels and red lips and lingerie.

I made a list of the times when I feel my best, and one thing that kept coming up over and over again for me was my environment. Is it weird that a clean house makes me feel sexy? Maybe. But it’s true: a house that is well-organized, clean and easy to navigate makes me feel more confident. It sets me up for success. It isn’t that spotless floors put me in the mood or anything, despite the smell of bleach being a total aphrodisiac, it’s the things that having a clean house make possible. Pulling together an outfit is easier when your closet is well-organized.  Getting ready is a joy when your items are arranged pleasantly in your bathroom, and you can always find your liquid eyeliner. When I feel confident about how my house looks and feels, I feel better, naturally.

I kickstarted my project by creating an environment that makes me feel sexy. I purged bags upon bags of stuff, including clothing that no longer makes me feel good. I got rid of old makeup and skin products to make way for new things. I made space for things I enjoy, like books and new cooking tools. I bought a ton of candles, and put them all over the house, creating my ideal environment for reading and hanging out cozied up after dinner. I also treated myself to a housekeeping service, who came in and scrubbed my house from top to bottom. The difference is amazing.

The effect of clearing out your physical space is that it feels as if you’re clearing space for new and fantastic things. By getting rid of clothes that no longer fit and makeup you no longer use, it feels like there’s space for all kinds of new feelings and possibilities.

It was the perfect way to kick off this project: to make space for what’s to come.

Also? Candles are definitely, definitely sexy. It’s helped already.