How to Organize A Nightstand

Tips for a Clutter-Free Bedside Table

Organize your nightstand
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A nightstand is one of the most useful pieces of furniture you can own. Most nightstands take up very little room and even a very small, narrow table next to your bed will improve the organization and functionality of your bedroom. At a minimum, a nightstand can hold a lamp, and an alarm clock or smartphone to wake you up each morning. Some nightstands have larger surfaces and can hold more items. But to avoid a hodgepodge of books, magazines, glasses, lip gloss, tissues and hand cream, you need to keep that table tidy.

Here are some tips to help you keep your nightstand shipshape. 

1. Toss or Keep?

First, do the usual toss or keep for any items you no longer need or use. Take everything off of your nightstand and out of its drawers or shelves and create three piles:

  • Toss
  • Keep
  • Move to its proper storage place

Trash or recycle the toss pile (see: What to Toss or Keep, set the keep pile aside, and then tackle the third pile. Be strict about what you decide to keep in or on top of your nightstand. Remember that it is the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you see when you turn off the light and go to sleep at night. It can become a catchall for random odds and ends, but unless you regularly edit its contents it will become a clutter zone.

2. Store Your Keepers

Address your "keep" pile. Items that you do not need within reach first thing in the morning or last thing at night should be moved to a drawer or shelf. That may mean moving some of these items out of the bedroom altogether.

Now place anything you use every night before you go to sleep and anything you reach for as soon as you wake up on the nightstand.

Think carefully about what you want on the top of the nightstand. Instead of keeping a stack of books that you are not reading as decor, consider keeping only the book you are currently reading on your nightstand and move the others to a bookshelf. Keep a box of tissues on the nightstand if you need them, but throw away the used ones daily.

If you use your smartphone's alarm, you may not need an alarm clock. If you use a white noise machine or an essential oil diffuser, fasten the cords and plugs to a leg of the nightstand to keep them from becoming a jungle on the tabletop.

The goal is to have everything you need handy and everything you don't need neatly tucked away. If you like to have candles in your bedroom, keep one out and store the rest. If you like to have a glass of water near your bed, replace the glass daily (you only need one glass.)

3. Add Storage Solutions

A small, decorative tray or dish is an attractive and practical place to hold your watch, eyeglasses, rings and earrings. If you have multiple drawers, consider putting your most-used items in the top drawer and less frequently used things in lower drawers.

If you are worried about drawer clutter, or your nightstand becoming a junk drawer (if properly organized, a junk drawer can be a lifesaver!), invest in some drawer dividers. They make everything easier to find, and they can even make a pile of "stuff" look neat.

4. Review Regularly

Once a month or so, review your setup to see if has gotten out of control again. A little sloppiness here and there is only human, but take the time to revisit your nightstand every so often and update as needed. After all, an organized nightstand should give you peace of mind—and help you get a good night's sleep!