I finally read the book that everyone has been talking about. You know, the one about getting rid of all the crap from your house so everything in your life becomes instantly amazing? Marie Kondo’s book about the KonMari Method really is helpful. My house was filled with so much stuff — thanks to my two kiddos, a husband, and my sentimental urge to save everything — and it always made me feel a little anxious and unsettled; I was excited to get through the book, grab some garbage bags, and get started.

The KonMari Method, as she explains it, first involves going through your clothes. You’re supposed to hold each article of clothing in your hand (yes, don’t just look at it, you have to feel it) and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, add it to the “give away” pile. I started with my tops, and since it’d been so long since I’d worn many of them, I had to strip down and try them on. Ugh. I was reminded of the dozens of shirts I kept but hadn’t worn in years because every time I put them on I’d think, “This makes me look fat.” What is the point of having clothes that don’t make you feel awesome? So I GOT RID OF THEM. It felt amazing; so liberating, to get those clothes out of my closet and out of my thoughts. I didn’t realize that by not wearing these clothes, it was wearing down on my spirit.

Related: Damn You Have a Nice Butt, and These Quotes Prove It

Then I dug deeper into my closet. Way in the back, on a shelf on top of my hanging clothes, I pulled out “the jeans.” These were the ones I wore in college, before marriage, before my body expanded and changed after going through two pregnancies. I remember pulling them out a year after my first was born, and not even attempting to put them on, for fear of how I might just fall into a puddle of sadness on the floor. I kept them though. With the mindset that they’d inspire me to get back to my pre-baby weight after I’d have baby number two. And now was the moment of truth.

I didn’t do it though. I did not try them on. I hated what those jeans stood for, for the way they made me feel, so I didn’t even give them the chance to make me feel anything. I added those six pairs of jeans to the huge pile to be given away. And I proceeded to get rid of every article of clothing I only held onto to “in case I got skinnier.” F*ck that. That’s no way to live.

Another surprising thing about the KonMari Method that’s helped me feel better about how I feel about myself is how she teaches you to fold the clothes in your drawer so they’re standing up, which makes it possible to see every piece of clothing all at once. It’s an amazing sight to see all my sports bras, yoga tanks, running tops, tights, and shorts all splayed out perfectly — so many of these were tucked in the bottom of the drawer, just waiting to be worn. It totally inspires me to want to wear them, so I’ve been working out more often, which has helped me maintain my weight and get stronger, more-defined muscles.

Decluttering and organizing my clothes had a tremendous impact on how I felt about my body — and ditching the clothes that encouraged negativity was one of the best decisions I’ve made on my road to loving my appearance. Now when I look in my closet or pull something out of my drawers, I know it’ll make me feel good about myself, that I’ll feel proud and confident. Not only that, but now when I go shopping, if I don’t love something immediately in the dressing room, I don’t buy it. I’ve saved money, valuable closet space, and honestly, my soul.