15 Easy Ways to Organize a Nightstand

Keep your nightly essentials tidy and within reach using these simple bedside table organization ideas.

Nightstands can become clutter magnets in the blink of an eye. Without a proper organizing system, stuff will undeniably land in the drawers that don't need to be there. To avoid turning your nightstand into the junk drawer of the bedroom, here are easy ways to organize a nightstand. You'll sleep well knowing that everything is in its place.

bedroom with black wall
Christina Schmidhofer

1. Always Declutter First

Before implementing any organization ideas, clear out your nightstand and sort the items into piles. There should be piles for things you’d like to keep, stuff that can be rehomed elsewhere, and trash or donations. While the drawers (and the top or shelves) are clear, use this time to give it a good wipe down to ensure it’s clean before organizing the contents.

wooden end table next to bed
Jason Donnelly

2. Create Zones

Before setting up your system, carve out the different categories of the things you’d like to keep in or on your nightstand. Generally, those zones should include:

  • Electronics
  • Personal care
  • Writing and reading materials

Now, of course, you can be more specific and further separate out each zone. As an example, electronics can be divided by remotes, chargers, and devices. Personal care can be sorted into hand lotion, hair ties, and medicine. It all depends on how much of each category you’re keeping in the nightstand and which organization method you decide to use.

Another thing to consider if you have multiple drawers or shelves is to assign a zone for each one. For instance, the top can hold smaller items and the bottom can be used for books, tablets, or even clothing if needed.

3. Use Bamboo Organizers 

A popular method for keeping bedside table drawers tidy, individual bamboo inserts are ideal for a few reasons. They’re a more eco-friendly organizing tool as opposed to their plastic counterparts. Secondly, they’re customizable and can be arranged however you see fit. Use the individual organizers to fit your various zones, putting the most often reached for items front and center.

4. Try Acrylic Ones

As an alternative to bamboo, you can try clear acrylic organizers that are made from a heavy plastic. One advantage of these, is that if you keep something liquid in the drawer, such as a facial oil or lip balm, it’s easier to clean any spills. Also, if the drawer bottom has a fun patterned drawer liner, you can still see it pop through the clear containers.

5. Consider an Expandable Tray

If you’re careful with the measurements, you may luck out and find an organizing tray that can expand to fit your nightstand drawer perfectly. From there, use the individual compartments to divide out pens from lighters and tissues from ear plugs.

6. Use Drawer Dividers

While they’re not ideal for smaller items, drawer dividers can work well for larger items like sorting out notebooks from reading books. If you’re short on space and need your nightstand to double as a dresser, use dividers to keep underwear, pajamas, or socks in separate sections.

7. Label Zones

To ensure your stuff stays tidy and in its place, add a few labels where you see fit. A simple label maker will suffice and you can stick the tape on the inside lip of the drawer. These are easy enough to remove and relabel if you decide to change up your system in your future.

modern bedroom with DIY nightstand
Brie Passano

8. Devise a Hidden Charging Station

Since many people charge their electronics overnight, the bedside table is a perfect place for everything to land. The problem is that it can quickly become an unsightly mess, especially if you have multiple devices. If that’s the case, consider creating a hidden spot inside a nightstand drawer. Some styles today come with an opening in the back to allow for this or you can cut your own and feed a power strip inside. Use Velcro strips to keep it in place towards the back of the drawer and plug your watch, earbuds, and phone into the outlets. Keep them charged and out of sight for the night.

9. Put Chargers on Display

If you’d rather have them more readily available, consider a two-in-one charging station. They come in a variety of styles so you’re sure to find something that fits your bedroom and looks aesthetic on top of your nightstand. Your everyday devices can still be charged overnight but accessible in case of an emergency.

10. Stick Cords to the Side

For a simple solution to charging your phone, use an adhesive cord catcher and attach it to the side of your nightstand that is closest to your bed. Slide the charging cord through it so it’s always there when you need it and not somewhere on the floor or behind the furniture itself. 

nightstand black white bedroom
David A Land

11. Lay a Trinket Tray

Another straightforward way to keep the important things organized is to employ a tray. Find one that matches your decor and place it either on top of the nightstand or on a shelf below. This not only makes the surface look neater, it also makes it easier to wipe it down when cleaning.

12. Choose a Carafe

Most people like to have a glass of water with them in case they wake up thirsty at any point. For a luxe touch, try a beautiful bedside water carafe with a lid that turns into a cup. This can save some space on the nightstand, save you from a trip to the kitchen in the middle of the night, and make your bedside look and feel like a five-star hotel.

13. Stack Some Reads

Note the use of the word “some” as the idea isn’t to turn your nightstand into a library. Too many books will make it appear cluttered and collect dust which can result in breathing issues while you sleep. On a shelf or in a drawer, add only a handful of books that you’re currently reading or about to read next. Keep a pair of reading glasses and a book lamp nearby as well.

Bedroom with geometric walls and cart nightstand
David A Land

14. Put Items in Pretty Baskets

A nightstand with a shelf, especially towards the bottom, is the ideal place to put a basket. Find one in a natural material such as water hyacinth or seagrass and toss in some magazines, an eye mask, or even a small blanket in case you get a chill during the night.

Editor's Tip: If your bedside table simply has tall (and possibly wide) legs, you can also leave the basket directly on the floor underneath.

15. Hang a Bedside Caddy

Perhaps your nightstand has no drawers and you want to keep the surface or shelves as clutter free as possible. Consider attaching a fabric caddy to the side of your bed instead. These slim organizers come with individual compartments for your books, phone, glasses, and more plus they make it easy to reach down and grab what you need without having to get out of bed.

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