The organized nightstand

Over the years we’ve written many articles about maintaining an organized bedroom. Today I’ll talk about the faithful nightstand. Other than your bed, the nightstand is likely the piece of bedroom furniture you’ll use most often. Everything from your phone to your current novel rests on this little table, and it can get cluttered. Here’s how to pick a nightstand that’s going to work for you, and keep it tidy in the process.

Drawer or no drawer?

I’m anti-drawer fan when it comes to nightstands. I had a nice old desk next to my bed for years. It had a drawer that I filled with appropriate things: tissues for when I was feeling sick, a book, wallet and keys, and so on. Then I started to put other things in there such as greeting cards, books of stamps, little notebooks, batteries, headphones, small paperback books, and so on.

I’d purge the drawer and start again, only to get the same result. The nightstand drawer became my go-to destination for those “Where do I put this?” items. So, I eliminated the nightstand with the drawer and I haven’t looked back.

Incidentally, if you’re looking to reclaim a junk drawer, we’ve got you covered.

Light source

This is one area I still need to update. Currently I’ve got a small desk lamp on my nightstand. It’s great but the base takes up a too much space. A clip-on model would save space and every little bit counts.


Many of the items on my nightstand are small, like my keys, pocket flashlight, pocket knife, notebook, wallet, and pens (my Everyday Carry). To keep these bits and bobs from making a mess I use a Sturdy Brothers Catch All. It looks great and keeps all of that stuff together.

Everything else

What else is permitted on my nightstand? My Kindle is there, and my phone, which I use as an alarm clock. Often times I’ll put a bottle of water there as I like to take a drink when I first wake up but that’s it.

I realize that different needs will necessitate more or less on a person’s nightstand, as well as the features of the furniture itself. Please chime in. How do you keep your nightstand organized?

10 Comments for “The organized nightstand”

  1. posted by marie on

    I have a small wooden nightstand with one small drawer and a shelf below. I use a CPAP so the only thing on top of my nightstand is a lamp & the CPAP (occasionally the Kleenex box migrates there if I’m fighting a cold or allergies). The shelf below holds one book (all the rest are on a shelf in my closet) & a bottle of distilled water (for CPAP).

    Since the drawer is small, only essentials that I would need in that space can live there – I have a small basket for misc. small necessities that tend to roll around if tossed in such as a nail clipper & file, Rosary, Burt’s Bees chap stick and a pen or pencil. Other inhabitants of the drawer (I try to keep it very neat) are my reading glasses, a small container of Holy Water, small containers of cream, lavender essential oil, arnica & bio-freeze, & a small journal. I could probably pare down the items in the drawer, but they fit nicely in their places.

    Just finished reading both of Erin’s books and have had fun implementing the ideas around my home! My poor family runs when I walk around, assessing rooms with a certain gleam in my eye, knowing that (their summons to participate in) projects are not too far behind.

    Thoroughly enjoying the posts on the blog, too! Thanks!

  2. posted by laura ann on

    I have a small nite table w. radio, cd player and several jars of cream. No phones in bedroom, shut off at night.

  3. posted by E on

    Thanks everyone. I’m taking in the article and your comments. My night stand is usually tidy on top, but has a shelf with way too many books and a drawer that is a “junk drawer” (not good). Also, my lamp takes up too much room as well. You’ve given me food for thought and inspiration. I’ve got to make some decisions.

  4. posted by PatMcD55 on

    I have a small table with a single small drawer. On top, small lamp, small battery-powered alarm clock, coaster box of tissues, and reading matter (book or two, magazine, catalog, sometimes the Sunday book review). In the drawer, in a divided tray, thermometer, emery boards and nail buffer, nail clippers, lip balm, reading glasses in small case, moisturizing cream, vitamin E cream, cotton gloves. There isn’t room for anything else, so nothing else goes into the drawer.

  5. posted by Julie on

    On top of nightstand: Kindle, cell phone, lotion in a pump nottle. Sconce light on the wall. Drawer below: My “go to” jewelry in a small basket and a small collection of “next up” makeup in a lidded container. (I live in a very small space, hence a little oddness with that.) If fighting an illness, I put a basket on the nightstand to hold tissues, cough drops, inhaler, bottle of water — then remove it when all better. It’s taken a long time to develop uncluttered quarters.

  6. posted by Missy on

    On top of nightstand: A lamp that is pleasing to me, a simple cork coaster, 2 small turtle figurines that I love, and a baby monitor. At night I also have a glass of water and my iPhone that I use as an alarm clock. Sometimes reading material if I read in bed that evening. Top drawer contains tissues, a flashlight, and a small notebook and pen in case I need to jot something down. Lots of extra room in that drawer but I don’t have anything else I’d want to put there at the moment. Middle drawer contains my firearm and associated materials. Bottom drawer contains a few items that hold precious memories for me. I rarely look at them but it is comforting to me to know they are there. There is room for more in that bottom drawer but I am very intentional about what I keep there.

  7. posted by Pat on

    So interesting to see how other people arrange their lives! I have a 3-draw night table. Like Marie, I have to sleep with a CPAP machine, but I can’t stand to have it on the night table during the day. It lives in the bottom, deepest drawer. Middle drawer has body lotions and lavender linen sprays, etc. Topmost, very shallow drawer has very few things: manual for my clock radio, shoe horn, etc. The surface has only a lamp, my clock radio, my beloved kindle, and (at night) the CPAP machine. The phone stays downstairs in the kitchen overnight.

  8. posted by Katie on

    I feel like a drawer is essential in a nightstand, so you have somewhere to keep the… let’s call them ‘products’ that need to be handy at times. The kinds of things you don’t want your mother-in-law to see when she comes to visit.

  9. posted by Susan on

    I use a small metal and glass magazine holder /side table thing as a nightstand, it has no drawers. I got rid of the nightstand with the drawers because it was a clutter magnet. This thing I have now is streamlined and has a glass top and curved metal rails to hold magazines and books on the bottom. I keep whatever books I’m currently reading on top and other books like checked out library books on the bottom. I keep a pen and notebook there too because I like taking notes when I read. I keep my phone in another room when I’m sleeping and have an old Timex Indiglo watch on the nightstand so I know what time it is if I wake up in the middle of the night. If I need an alarm, I use my Kindle Fire and put it under t he pillow next to me.

    I haven’t found it to be a problem to bring sex related items in from their storage location in the hallway closet ,like condoms, lube, vibrator, whatever. My bedroom is the least cluttered room in the (konmari’d) house, just my bed, my little nightstand, and a plant. I love it. I will never go back to owning tons of stuff.

  10. posted by gomezpeter on

    I also have a nightstands table and i use it to keep all my accessories like some other’s do my books, a round alarm clock and glass of water and a bottle within reach which also and matches my beds and other bedroom furniture.

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