white nightstand with organized objects on surface like table lamps a small stack of books and eyeglasses.

How to Organize your Nightstand: Bedroom Organizing Tips

Getting your nightstand in order is a must for making getting any bedroom organized, functional and practical.

A nicely tidied-up nightstand doesn’t just make your room look better; it also helps you out with your bedtime routine.

After all, you’re beginning and ending your day in your bedroom, so why not make a practice of keeping this area of your home organized?

Check out these tips to get your nightstand in tip-top shape:

Start with a Clean Slate

The first step in organizing your bedroom’s nightstand is to clear everything off from the top and out from within the drawers and any shelves.

Empty, Declutter and Sort

Begin by removing everything from your nightstand, one level at a time.

This will give you a clear idea of the space you have to work with and what items you actually need.

If your nightstand has drawers or shelves, empty them one at a time.

As you empty the top, drawers or shelves, sort the items as you remove them into three piles:

  • Return
  • Re-home
  • Toss

The items in the Return pile will of course go back to live on or in your nightstand.

Items in the Re-home pile are things that you want to keep, but can live in another place in your home away from your nightstand.

Anything random that doesn’t need to live in your nightstand for use at bedtime, middle of the night or in the morning should live elsewhere.

And items in your Toss pile get pitched or recycled, of course!

Dust and Clean

Next, wipe down the nightstand to remove dust and any spills.

Vacuum out the drawers of the bedside table to get rid of any dust, and debris that’s accumulated.

A clean surface really does set the stage for a polished and organized look in the end.

Plus, clutter tends to attract more clutter, so aim to keep the surfaces clean and clear as much as possible.

Now that your nightstand has been wiped down and vacuumed out, you’re setting yourself up for success in this arena.

Prioritize Essentials

As you begin to return things back to your nightstand, revisit your Return pile and evaluate if you really do want and need those items to live in the nightstand.

If you’re not actively using the items either at bedtime, the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, perhaps the items would be better off living somewhere else in your home.

The bottom line is that fewer items you store in your nightstand will make it vastly easier to keep organized and maintain going forward.

More items will just make it harder to find what you need and you may quickly find yourself right back at a cluttered square one.

So really think about what you really need at arm’s reach on the surface of your nightstand, as well as within the drawers or lower shelves.

Here are some recommendations for nightstand essentials:


Keep or consider adding a lamps to the top of your nightstand so that you have easy access to a light source when you need it.

This’ll eliminate the need to walk across a dark room to get to the overhead light switch and can prevent injuries to boot.

Electronics and Cord Management

If you keep your phone on your nightstand to charge each night, you’ll want to corral the electronics cables and cords so they don’t contribute to the mess.

Use cable clips or ties to keep charger cords untangled and out of sight.

Command Round Cord Clips, Damage Free Hanging Cable Clips, No Tools Wall Clips for Hanging Electrical Cables, 13 Clear Cord Clips and 16 Command Strips

Run a few small Command Clips up the back of the nightstand to keep the cord close to the furniture so that the cord doesn’t fall down when you need it.

Cable Clip Holder Weighted Desktop Cord Management Fixture (Black)

Handy little helpers that are weighted that provide surface cord management are also a good addition to your nightstand’s footprint.

It’ll make the space much more functional than if you’re constantly having to search the area around your nightstand to find where the charging cord has gone.

Another alternative is to add a wireless charger to the space to eliminate needing to find the charging cord in the first place!

Tabletop Protection

Add a coaster or cork mat to protect the surface of your bedside table from water rings and condensation if you like to keep a glass of water or water bottle within arm’s reach at night.

Personal Care Items

Definitely be sure to carve out space for personal care items in your nightstand like Kleenex facial tissues, lip balm, hand cream, etc.

But keep only your most frequently used items and only one bottle or tube of the lip balm or hand lotion in the nightstand.

Store duplicates somewhere else to keep the space as uncluttered as possible.

This will also mean you won’t end up with three nearly empty containers of the same thing since you’ll be reaching for and using up the same tube of hand cream, for example.

Pampering Items

You might want to add a small selection of pampering items to your nightstand drawer.

Many times, these items languish in bathroom cabinets because we forget to use them.

So consider moving the tube of fancy foot cream and the cotton moisturizing socks to your bedside table so you’ll remember to use them.

It’ll be like a little treat ready and waiting for you!

Items You May Want to Eliminate from your Nightstand

Next, let’s talk about some things you might not need on your nightstand.

If you use your cell phone as an alarm clock, then you may be able to clear off the clock from the surface of your nightstand, unless it’s purely decorative!

Instead of keeping an entire box of facial tissue on the top of your nightstand, consider storing an inch or two of tissues in the top drawer, and free up some surface space in the process.

Maybe you’re a reader and a stack of books is always on the top of your nightstand.

If this is the case, relocate all but the book that you’re currently ready to a lower drawer or shelf.

You can stage them to look more like decor and less like a book to do list.

Not only will it look better, but there’s no risk of accidentally toppling the stack over.

Utilize Storage Solutions

Most nightstands with drawers don’t come with any interior structure to keep things organized, so you’ll definitely want to add some sort of an organizational system to keep items in check.

This will help keep the drawer neater and more organized long term since there will be a defined place for everything.

Here, your options are nearly endless!

You can go the route of pure function with small acrylic containers or go more decorative with enamels trays.

There’s no rule that you have to purchase a storage container for this area of your bedroom, either.

Cell phone boxes and the box your AirPods came in are small rectangles that fit most of items most commonly kept in nightstands.

If you’re looking to buy storage containers, be sure to measure the interior section of the drawer for setting off to the store to shop.

And look for small trays or dividers that will divide up the space that also have enough room for the items you wish to store in them.

No matter if you go with a new to you storage container, a tray or small electronics box you already had in your home, make sure whatever you use allows you to use the full depth of the drawer, or as must as possible.

The best drawer organizers have straight sides so that they’re taking up a slimmer footprint and not eating up and wasting valuable space with flared sides.

That’s why cell phone boxes are so great. They have totally straight sides and all you see when they’re in a drawer are the clean and crisp box edges.

If your nightstand has drawers, use small trays or dividers to keep items like chargers, hand lotions, lip balm, a sleep eye mask, and other small items you’d like to keep handy organized.

For nightstands without drawers, stylish baskets or decorative storage boxes can be used to store items neatly and easily within reach.

Depending on what you’re storing on your nightstand, an open top basket or bin may make more sense than a closed storage box or organizer.

But it ultimately depends on whether you want the item to be stored out of sight (hello “personal massagers!”).

Optimize the Space

Nightstands come in all shapes, sizes and configurations.

Some come with minimal storage, so look for a bedside table that has enough storage options for the items you’ll ultimately store there.

Use all the available space, even if it’s not exclusively for things you necessarily need first thing in the morning or as you go to bed.

For example, my nightstand has three drawers, two of which are about 5-6 inches deep.

I store not only my pajamas in one of the drawers, but also my collection of infinity scarves and wraps, in addition to the usual things you’d expect to find in a nightstand- hand lotion, facial tissue and lip balm.

There’s no room for these items in my dresser or closet and it makes a lot of sense in my bedroom to organize the items this way.

Basically, make full use of the drawers and shelves to your best advantage.

Maintaining an Organized Nightstand

Now that you’ve thoroughly gone through your entire nightstand, cleaned it inside and out and organized what will live on the surface of the nightstand top, as well as what will live in the drawers and on any shelves, you need a plan to keep it that way!

First, before putting any hand or lip care items in the drawer, consider adding a drawer liner to prevent sticky oils and balms from soaking into the bottom of the drawer.

Choose a liner that you can easily wipe down or swap out and replace if it gets too gross.

Non adhesive drawer liners are best.

Aecoyke Shelf Liner, Cabinet Liner, Non Adhesive Kitchen Plastic Drawer Liner, Non Slip Shelf Liners for Kitchen Cabinets, Pantry, Shelves, Under Sink, Clear Refrigerator Liners (Clear, 12 x 240 inch)

My go to drawer and shelf liner is this EVA liner.

It doesn’t have smelly chemicals in it, so it doesn’t smell at all, unlike some other types of shelf and drawer liner.

It’s super easy to trim to size for a custom fit in any drawer and provides a no slip surface for shelves too.

And it’s available in nearly clear, grey and a super fun and bright blue color, so you can go with whatever color scheme fits your space best or color scheme preference.

Sometimes it’s super fun to have a pop of color inside a drawer!

Next, with regular maintenance, you can keep your freshly organized space just as neat and tidy by clearing off any stray items or clutter that’s accumulated on your nightstand top every day.

Start a new evening routine and take a few minutes to clear off the nightstand top of anything that’s not needed to reset the space.

Every 2-4 weeks or so taking a peek inside the drawers and on the shelves to pull out anything that needs to be re-homed or tossed and replenish your most used personal care and pampering items.

Over to you!

Tidying up and organizing your nightstand might seem like a small deal, but it can really help make your bedroom a more relaxing place.

These organizing tips can turn your nightstand into a practical and peaceful spot that makes your bedtime routine smoother and your sleep better because you won’t be managing chaos before going to sleep.

You’ll literally be right next to an orderly and organized space with items you use on a regular basis that meets your needs.

And in the morning, you’ll be similarly greeted with an uncluttered area that can help you start the day off on the right foot.

How great is that?

Happy organizing!

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