Organization Project 3: The Bedside Table

Bedside Drawer Before After -- Organization tips :)

The bedside drawer is a special place. Any drawer that has the potential to be the first you open in the morning and the last you close before hitting the hay is significant. It’s a wonder that it so often becomes a bedroom junk drawer. The problem with junk drawers is that they are like trash cans that never get taken out. You don’t want to dig through them, you put items in them that you want to make disappear, and opening them offers little appeal. Sleeping with that next to your head is somewhat terrifying.

Bedside Table Before

So let’s see here. I spy a notebook, a children’s book, multiple medicines, a forgotten mug, and other junk. Mm. Relaxing.

Bedside Drawer Before

Is that an underwater camera? From when? High school? Terrifying. A) An ancient camera from high school is in my bedside drawer, and B) That camera has somehow survived a million moves. How? No.

So here’s what happened: I began by pulling everything off the table top and out of the drawer and just tossing it on the bed. Then I asked myself what belongs here? I concluded that in my bedside table I wanted items that I might use before bed, right after waking up, and supplies that might be nice to have access to in the bedroom. Then I placed everything that met this criteria on top of the dresser (scissors, chapstick, medicine that I’m currently using, pens, etc). I tackled what remained on the bed next. Some of it was easy to just throw away (old receipts, candy that has survived 2 years without being consumed, etc), while other things provided much more of a challenge. Items that I wanted to keep but not in my bedside drawer were relocated to a place that made more sense (washi tape made its way to my craft drawer). The true challenge came when I stumbled upon items that had no practical value, but that I just couldn’t throw away (I think these things are magnets to our bedside drawers). Some of those items I forced myself to throw away. I found a little keychain my mom brought me from Hong Kong on her trip there at least a decade ago. There was something so special about it being not just from my mom, but also from another country. It had no place in the trash, but it had no place in my drawer either (or on my keys, no offense, mom). So what do we do with items like this? We get creative: a) add it to the toy bin for my daughter, b) attach it to some other item (like the flashlight in my drawer), or c) attach other keys to it (like spare keys that don’t live on your main keyring).

Once every item had been sorted and relocated, then came the most important part of this project: implementing a sustainable system. Cleaning out drawers and closets is a nice chore to do occasionally, but when organizing, the system needs to be easy to maintain or else it simply will not be (resulting in the need to clean out these places more frequently). After prowling several stores, I landed on an inexpensive ($6!) drawer tray from Target (found in the bathroom organization aisle). They make adorable cloth-lined jewelry organizers at about twice the price, but for a space that isn’t on display, per se, the additional aesthetic value just wasn’t worth it to me. The great thing about having an organizer is that it forces you to choose a space for each item instead of stock piling your drawer with whatever you can hide in there. It also separates items, creating visual simplicity. So nice.

Bedside Drawer After

What remains? Creams, medicine, journals, a sachet of lavender, glasses, business cards I want to keep, chapstick, headphones, hair bands, scissors, pens, a pocket knife, and a flashlight.

As for the the top of the bedside table, I simplified to the bare essentials.

Bedside Table AfterWhat’s left: a yummy almond candle next to my prenatal vitamins (I take them before bed, so this is the best spot for remembering them), which I switched from their ugly packaging to a little mason jar to pretty things up. A note of caution here: doing so ups the pretty, but it removes the child safety, so do so at your own risk. I’m keeping this at the back of the table for that reason (out of reach of little hands). I also left a book for night time reading, a coaster for my nightly glass of water (I sound 80, don’t judge), and of course the lamp. Simple simple simple. I like it when the chaos leaves my bedside.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the fourth project: the kitchen cabinets (I’m really excited to show you how they turned out).



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