Organizing Challenge: Clean Out the Nightstand Drawer

I know at least one reader out there will look at this challenge and shudder.  The nightstand/bedside table/night table drawer can be a chaotic place. It’s famous for being too small, so nothing really fits, or too big, so you lose everything in it, or just right, but you still can’t seem to have order in it. Then it gets aggravating when you’re looking for something in it… something that small shouldn’t be such a source of frustration!   So, set your 20 minute timer and let’s get to it!

Nightstand Drawer

1) Get prepped.  Bring a trash can to your bed and grab a basket or box you that you can use to place “goes somewhere else” items in to carry to their next (and proper) home.

2) Take the drawer out of the stand, if you can. It will be a lot more comfortable for you if you can spread out on the bed and work in a comfortable position rather than leaning over the table the whole time.

3) Take everything out and go through each item to decide:

  • This is trash. I don’t need to keep this here or anywhere. (throw these away)

  • This is worth keeping, but i don’t need it at my bedside at night. There is a better place for it. (Put these in the “other places” basket.)

  • This is an item that makes total sense to be in my bedside table. It is something I need and use in the evening or when I wake. (keep.)


And, what DOES belong in this drawer?

Anything you feel you need to access at night on a regular basis. It could include:

  • Reading glasses, bookmark, and maybe a current piece of reading material, if it fits

  • Pen and paper to jot quick notes (by the way, a few pens, which actually work, will do. 30 is excessive)

  • Some medication (ibuprofen, night-time cold medicine, lozenges, vaporub, antacid, any prescription medication that you take at your bed, etc.)

  • Beauty supplies (night-time eye cream, lip balm, vaseline, an emery board, a hair clip)

  • Hand lotion

  • Maybe your remote control or phone charge sits in here?

  • A small flashlight (check the batteries!)

  • A baby monitor, if you’re still in baby monitoring mode.

  • Earplugs or eyemask

  • Maybe some small sets of smaller items:  some sentimental items, contained nicely, or a small sewing kit and scissors, for things you might access in bed.

4) Group and corral “like” items in smaller dividers: bins, baskets, cut up bottoms of cereal boxes, whatever.   Keep beauty things together. Keep health things together, Keep a couple of pens in there.   Don’t let everything just lay back in there, only to be lost in the shuffle every time you open the drawer and close it again.  Lay the organizers in the drawer and put the drawer back in the stand.

5) Take the “goes somewhere else” box of items and walk around the house putting those items back in better places.


That wasn’t so bad, was it?  Did you find treasure?  (Treasure:  literally, like money and jewels, or figurative, like “Oh! I’ve been looking for this!!”)  Did you look at the pile of stuff you threw away (dirty tissues, price tags from clothing, ink less pens, lip balm with no balm left) and think to yourself “Why didn’t I just throw this away before?   If you threw items away, found some treasure, or put items back to a home that makes a lot more sense, then you’ve had a great success!  Of course, the best measure of success is the next time you go into that drawer to look for something in particular, and can see it right away, right where you hoped you would see it!


Come back Friday for a challenge for your weekend!  We’re 2 down into our 14 challenges for the January ’14!






  1. jan

    my bedside table is a bookcase. Bottom shelf, small waste basket. Top shelf, tissues and eye drops. one small bowl for hairpins. I never have to clean out the drawer, just empty wastebasket.

  2. Clever Girl Organizing

    You’re in great shape! Sounds like a great set up. Thanks for sharing and reading along, even if you don’t need this challenge! I appreciate it!


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