By Jiji Lee

How to Organize Your Nightstand Into a Cozy, Inspiring Space


A few small changes can make a big difference to your room.

A tidy bed makes the whole bedroom look put together. But did you know an organized nightstand can make a big impact as well?

The nightstand is a versatile furniture piece that is functional, pretty to look at, and doesn’t take up much space. It’s a place to keep your bedside lamp, books, and smaller items. And it’s also a restorative space that’s just for you. You can display candles, keep your journal, and other comforting items. 

A well-organized nightstand can transform your room and make the space feel like a haven. And since our bedside table is probably the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see at night, you’ll want to make sure that it looks tidy and organized. 

Even better? Organizing a nightstand won’t eat up your entire day. It’s compact enough that it won’t feel as daunting as cleaning the entire house or organizing your closet. And you’ll still get to feel a huge sense of accomplishment afterwards. 

Follow our action plan below to organize your nightstand and set yourself up for a relaxing night. 

How to organize your nightstand for a cozy, inspiring bedroom

Step 1: Assess current problems

In order to find organizational solutions for your nightstand, it’s helpful to do a quick assessment first.

Take a look at your nightstand and see where clutter is accumulating. Is it overflowing with books and tchotchkes? Is your bedside lamp competing for space with your plant? Are the drawers cramming with random items like pens, toiletries, and junk mail?

If it’s a little bit of everything, don’t sweat it. Now you’ll have a much better sense of what to cull and organize.

Step 2: Identify the essential items for your nightstand 

While a nightstand is a great space to display our mementos and personal items, it shouldn't be a catch-all. Here’s how to streamline it so that you can have the organized nightstand of your dreams.

First, make a list of the essential items you’d like to keep. Take into consideration your current morning and evening routine. This will help you figure out what items you’ll want nearby on your nightstand. 

For instance, if you like to read before bed, you’ll definitely want to keep some books on your nightstand. If your books are stacked sky high, it’s time to pick and choose. Relocate the books that you don’t need and keep the ones that you’re currently reading.

Or maybe you’d like your nightstand to be a calming focal point of your bedroom. What items would help you evoke this feeling? You might not have enough space for a diffuser, candle, salt lamp, and journal, but narrow it down to one or two items. You can always rotate your favorite items so that the area feels fresh.

Other ideas for essential items can include:

  • Bedside lamp
  • Alarm clock or cellphone
  • Box of tissues
  • Glasses
  • Glass of water
  • Small plant
  • Beloved jewelry/accessories e.g. wedding ring, watch, lucky charms 

What is considered essential is entirely up to you. After assessing your morning/evening routine and your needs, you’ll have a better sense of what key items to store on your nightstand. 

Step 3: Remove inessentials from your nightstand

Now that you know what items you’d like to keep, it will be easier to identify the items that should be tossed or relocated.

Items to toss or relocate can include:

  • Old post-its or notepads
  • Receipts
  • Bookmarks
  • Toiletries that are used infrequently
  • Books you’re not reading
  • Used notebooks
  • Jewelry

Step 4: identify items that can be resized

If your bedside lamp takes up too much space, can it be downsized? Maybe that means swapping it for a slim bedside lamp or clamp light.

The same goes for an alarm clock. Can you swap it for a smaller model? Or move it to the top of your dresser? (This way, you won’t be tempted to hit snooze multiple times!).  You can also opt to use the alarm on your phone instead. 

And instead of displaying multiple candles, maybe you can have a small votive or travel sized version of your favorite candle. 

This resizing strategy can also extend to journals and notebooks. There are lots of cute notebook options that come in slim, compact designs that won’t occupy too much space on your nightstand. 

Step 5: Organize items on your nightstand

The next step is to sort through your bedside items and organize them by category. This way, you can identify storage solutions for them, and prevent clutter. 

Typical categories include:

  • Jewelry
  • Toiletries
  • Stationery
  • Cords
  • Medicine

Using the Marie Kondo philosophy of organizing, you’ll want to find a “home” for each category. For instance, your jewelry can be corralled into a catch-all dish or tray.  Toiletries can be stored in a stackable organizer. There are lots of cute options for storage solutions, which will help you keep clutter at bay without sacrificing style or space.

For wayward items like earbuds and cords, keep them in one place with cord ribbons.  

Step 6: Add some inspiring flourishes

You’ve done the hard work of organizing your nightstand, now it’s time for the fun part: adding decorative flourishes! These are the little items that will go a long way towards making your nightstand feel personal and special. 

Here are some items you can display on your nightstand:

  • Greeting cards from loved ones. 
  • Inspirational quotes to help you start your day off on a positive note or end your night on a calming one.
  • A small, beautiful plant to freshen your space.
  • Pretty flowers for a pop of color. 
  • Vacation mementos like a postcard or photo to inspire wanderlust. 
  • Decorative vase or bowl to add a structural element.
  • Framed print to add an artistic touch. 
  • Gratitude journal to record what you are thankful for.

To prevent clutter from accumulating, it’s wise to stick to a few items. You can also curate your nightstand regularly, and swap your beloved items whenever you need a refresh. This way, your nightstand is guaranteed to look put together, cozy, and inspiring.