Storing the CPAP machine (and other ugly but frequently used stuff)

We recently asked our readers to share their biggest uncluttering and organizing hurdles and they responded. Now, we’re going through the comments to see what we can do to help.

Unclutterer reader Mary asked:

C-Pap Machines for sleep apnea … used every nite … sitting on a small table by my husband’s side of the bed and most visible from adjoining living room … long hose and face piece at end of hose … so ugly but so necessary … storage ideas but still convenient?

Mary, there are a number of approaches you might use to address this challenge. While I’m going to list some specific solutions for CPAP machines, the strategies I’ve included could apply to any ugly-but-useful items we need to keep close at hand.

Make the equipment less ugly

Your options here will depend on what CPAP machine you use and how crafty you are. There are some commercial products, but you could also try a do-it-yourself approach. On the commercial side:

The ResMed S9 Autoset comes in pink, which some people think looks less clinical (and therefore more attractive) than the basic machine.

If you use a ResMed S9 device you can also get a skin (a vinyl decal) for it. Skinit has a program where you provide the image and the company turns it into a custom skin.

You can also find a few Skinit ready-made skins (products the company has discontinued) on eBay and other sites.

Cover it up

Building off the idea of the teapot cover called a cozy, some people have created CPAP machine and mask cozies. I’m not finding anyone who sells a CPAP cozy commercially, but you could either make one yourself or have one made for you.

You can buy hose covers, which serve a functional purpose. But a cover also “makes the CPAP look less clinical,” as one Amazon buyer noted.

Place it somewhere handy but less conspicuous

The CPAP machine doesn’t have to live on top of the nightstand in order to be handy. The Bedside CPAP Table keeps the CPAP close by the bed but off the nightstand, freeing up that nightstand space for other things. (This table is also useful for travel to places where there might not be a nightstand next to the bed.)

You can also take the CPAP machine (and the hoses and mask) off the nightstand by putting everything into the nightstand. Perdue Woodworks makes a nightstand specifically for this purpose, but if you’ve got another nightstand where you’re willing to cut holes in the sides, you might be able to create your own.

Denny Allen Cabinets has a different design, with a side-opening drawer, which could also work well.

When you’re dealing with anything that’s unsightly yet useful, you may find a similar creative way to disguise or hide the item.

14 Comments for “Storing the CPAP machine (and other ugly but frequently used stuff)”

  1. posted by sarah on

    If the other side of the bed is not visible from the living room, perhaps try switching who sleeps on which side of the bed.

  2. posted by Alice F. on

    I don’t have this problem personally, but I’m so impressed with the thorough response and all these ideas! Hopefully some of these will be a big help to Mary. I’m wondering now what problem you Unclutterer geniuses can solve for me! 😀

  3. posted by infmom on

    Oh, for pete’s sake. Some people get their panties in a bunch over the most completely ridiculous things. If you don’t want people seeing the machine, close the bedroom door.

    My husband and I both use those machines and they sit on our nightstands, and if people see them they see them. *shrug*

  4. posted by Neal on

    Terrific article and very nice information for sleep apnea sufferers. Both my wife and myself use these and hate the look and wasted nightstand space.

  5. posted by Louise on

    Really great ideas, as usual, Jeri! As a sewist, I particularly like the “cozy” idea, but that custom bedside table with the slide out shelf is pretty nifty.

    These ideas serve another purpose, too, which is to keep that important (and probably rather expensive) machine clean and dust-free.

  6. posted by Krista on

    I bought an inexpensive plastic box from Ikea and put my CPAP in that and put it underneath my bed every day when I get up.

  7. posted by Gail on

    Truly, I thank God for cpap machine, ,,improved my husband’s sleep quality.

    Thanks for ideas

  8. posted by Brian on

    I have a nightstand with one drawer and a cubby underneath, and I keep the CPAP in the cubby. I actually find the distilled water is harder than the machine to stash somewhere inconspicuous.

  9. posted by Karen on

    Both my husband and I use CPAPs. I can’t get DH to “conceal” his, but I wanted more space on my nightstand that the machine was taking up. My solution? I bought a decorative, rustic looking, crate large enough to fit over the machine, but with gaps in the slats large enough for the hose to fit through. Put it under the crate (crate upside down). I now have decorative things sitting on-top of the crate and it is almost completely invisible unless you are looking for it. It’s also easy to remove the items on top to add water (which I only need to do about twice a week).

  10. posted by Bette on

    I don’t hide my CPAP machine b/c I like its chic, industrial look! Mine resembles a small black and silver clock radio — in fact, a casual observer would assume that’s what it is.

    I’d like to comment on the readers who hide their machines. It sounds as if they might not be cleaning the water reservoir every day. If you don’t wash and dry the reservoir daily, you run the risk of breathing in all manner of molds, fungi, and bacteria. Cleaning the reservoir daily is a pain but something that is not optional!

  11. posted by AinOakPark on

    I don’t have a CPAP machine, but I agree that the writer did a good job of responding! My idea was the same as Karen’s – to put something over the machine, sort of like those covers that go over room service food. I was thinking a box, which can easily be cut as needed for the hose or whatnot. It could be sray painted some basic color, or decorated in some way if you are crafty. While all the suggestions were good, buying a pink machine, or putting a sports “skin” over it made me laugh. Yup, those ideas made the machine look much better ; ) ! But they were all ideas that might work!

  12. posted by koalabelle on

    It never occurred to me that my CPAP was something I should be covering up. But then I’ve always been baffled by people who hide toilet paper under a crocheted doll, or who put disguises on their blenders and vacuum cleaners. To me that’s clutter, not the necessary items themselves!

  13. posted by Michele on

    This may be too late to be read, but here goes:

    I detach my hoses and mask and hang them on removable hooks on the back of the bathroom door, like people do with bathrobes. This lets them dry out after use.

    I have several hooks there — as a place to keep additional hoses and face mask paraphernalia. I have three sets, plus extra nasal pillow sets, which are what I use as a mask.

    These aren’t clutter to me! With this supply, and a system for marking which masks etc have been used, I always know what’s ready and clean. ( I keep a mesh bag for the used pillows.)

    I agree with the coment about cleaning hoses, mask, AND the water container– you MUST at least rinse it out and let it dry every other day, and wash at least weekly. Check with your supplier — some say to use a vinegar rinse after washing every so often.

    In my current bedroom, I have an open shelf on my night stand where I keep and use my CPAP. Prior to this, I hung the hoses etc on a hook elsewhere and left the machine on the night stand. It didn’t look strange; the hoses are what made things look cluttered an unsanitary.

  14. posted by Donna on

    I also detach the hose and face mask but they go into the top drawer of my night table.

    I’ve considered trying to empty that drawer a bit and see if I could work the CPAP in there – physically it might be a little closer since it’s on the far side of the night table now. I could run the plug into the back of the night table and into the drawer and then the drawer just open up at night with the CPAP in it.

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