It's a table, and it goes beside a bed...what shall we call it, and what shall we do with it?
July 2, 2008 8:35 AM   Subscribe

What do you keep in your beside table?

Never having a bedside table, the sudden acquisition of one has left me rather bewildered!

So many draws (three!), plus a flat surface.

How do you use this space? What sort of things do you like to keep close by? Any clever ideas that go beyond my current book and reading lamp usage?
posted by oxford blue to Home & Garden (45 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by coryinabox at 8:39 AM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

Lip gloss and lotion, to put on right before sleep.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:40 AM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

Ditto-ing "coryinabox". It's a basic "dirty drawer" that my wife and I hope a friend will empty in the case of our untimely demise.

The surface is used for a clock radio, bottle of water (with cap in case a pillow hits it in the night), any nightly pills like Zyrtec, etc. and the remote controls for the TV, DVD player, lights, etc.

But yeah, the drawers store things that are used, um, in the bed.
posted by arniec at 8:41 AM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

Old phones, old phone peripherals, penknives, a pokemon toy, (for some reason) pestering letters from the bank, and a whole lot more crap.

Basically its where I put something that I need to keep but will only use once in 5 years, and its where I look when I can't find something that I knew I'd need one day.

Also, apparently, things that begin with P.
posted by Jofus at 8:43 AM on July 2, 2008

Beyond the "dirty drawer" stuff, my iPod and my toothbrush charger live in my bedside table.

The surfaces keep an alarm clock, lotion, books, glass of water and cellphone if we're in bed, and my teddy bear.
posted by jamesonandwater at 8:45 AM on July 2, 2008

A journal, lube, laptop, sexytime toys, candles, cat treats, cat nip candles and nintendo ds

The second drawer just has books
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:50 AM on July 2, 2008

Cell phone charger, aforementioned 'toy drawer', CD/Clock Radio, white noise machine, phone with pen and paper, and a little basket to empty my pockets after work (keys, wallet, loose change, receipts, whatever).
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:52 AM on July 2, 2008

Top: current reading material, clock radio, glasses (while sleeping only), spare change cup, quarters for laundry, kleenex.

Drawers: condoms, hiking clothes.
posted by LionIndex at 8:56 AM on July 2, 2008

Besides the "for use in bed materials" and lip balm, earplugs, and a few books - I also keep a small basket in my beside table drawer that contains all of my important stuff. Passports, foreign currencies, other ID and insurance documents, cheque book etc. There now is never a "Where did I put this?" panic because it's all in one special place.
posted by meerkatty at 9:01 AM on July 2, 2008

Flashlight, in case the power goes out.

Acrylic container full of pens and markers.

A laptop which functions as an alarm clock (Dear Citrus Alarm Clock, I love you and I promise I will actually register my copy someday).

Egg timer for when I have something in the oven downstairs, or I'm painting my nails (5 minutes between coats).

Dirty drawer: latex/vinyl medical gloves are an essential, along with the more easily guessed things.
posted by Juliet Banana at 9:02 AM on July 2, 2008

On top of nightstands: cell phone, alarm clock, candles, a picture of me as a baby with my Grandfather, an ink drawing a friend made for me in college, hairpins and such, loads of books, lamps, nose drops, remotes, body lotion, deodorant, box with earrings and other jewelery.

Inside drawers: erm, "toys" and the like, meds (both mine and the cats'), nail clippers and scissors, nail files, some random stuff I throw in there because I'm a messy individual (like bracelets and what-have-you).

I don't think any of this helps you with clever ideas, though.
posted by neblina_matinal at 9:10 AM on July 2, 2008

I keep a phone book and a bible so when I travel I feel at home. I also put my wallet and keys in there when I get home so I know where they are in the morning when I am panicking and late.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:11 AM on July 2, 2008 [2 favorites]

Top: Lamp, current book being read, small notepad and a pen for writing things that come to me in the night (many of my muses know no sleep).

Middle shelf: Kleenex, flashlight, currently preferred hand tool for home defense.

The last item's never been used for the stated purpose, and hopefully never will be. That said, I clearly live a much more boring life than a majority of the responses you're getting here.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:13 AM on July 2, 2008

Alarm clock. Condoms, lube, anything else sexual. Whatever I might read before bed. My glasses. My cell phone. If ours had drawers, I would keep a knife in it for self defense if someone broke in. When my fiance is out of town and I feel less safe, I go ahead and put a huge butcher knife on it, along with my pepper spray. (If one were so inclined, and had no worries of children finding it, then a gun could be the fulfill same function.)
posted by Nattie at 9:14 AM on July 2, 2008

Flat: book, another book, lamp, tissues, glass of water, mobile phone, pencil

Top: passport, digital camera, various leads, hayfever pills, cheque book, a couple of (dead?) batteries, some photos of my family

Middle: pants

Bottom: ties
posted by ninebelow at 9:14 AM on July 2, 2008

Hah, that should read "a gun could fulfill the same function."
posted by Nattie at 9:15 AM on July 2, 2008

I do not currently have one with drawers, and I think I'm glad about that. When I have in the past, the drawers seem to fill up with the pocket detritus of the day, so that over time I accumulated loads and loads of coins, pens, receipts, disposable lighters, matchbooks and business cards in my bedside table. Also condoms, book light, and the odd paperback, but those didn't get there from me turning-out my pockets.

So, a cautionary tale! Treasure your three new drawers and strive for spartan utility, instead of treating them as a place to empty your pockets or to sweep crap into when the top of the night stand becomes too littered with things.
posted by mumkin at 9:15 AM on July 2, 2008

Top: Lamp, current book.

Drawer: Various things for, uh, spending grown-up time with ladies.

Alarm clock's on the other side of the room, to make sure I get up out of bed to turn it off.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:17 AM on July 2, 2008

Top: lamp, books, alarm clock that I don't use, it just displays the time.

Drawer: journals, pens, highlighters, candy. Also, I hang the end of my cell phone charger on the outside of the drawer so I can easily reach it. Naughty things go under the bed currently.
posted by sperose at 9:26 AM on July 2, 2008

Gun inside a quick access lockbox that is bolted to the bottom shelf. Pile of books and phone charge on top.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:31 AM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

On the top surface:
  • Alarm clock
  • Reading lamp
  • A current book
  • Bottle of water (can't use a glass, because the cats love to dump it on me in the night. Also, there's now a coaster under the bottle of water, though this addition has only come since the arrival of the future Mrs terpia).
  • The control pad for my side of our heated mattress pad (that I never use - also a new addition from the mrs.)
  • remotes for the TV, Media Center PC, and thermostat.
In the first drawer:
  • The usual "dirty drawer" contents.
  • Relationship keepsakes (ticket stubs from the play we saw on our first date, etc.)
  • my checkbook (awful place to keep it, I know).
  • A giant bottle of advil, in which I keep advil, pepcid, and the last two muscle relaxers from my back injury last year.
  • A small handgun (okay, it's a gag-gift handgun lighter that's small enough to close my hand around)
  • A golf ball box that contains things I very occasionally light with the handgun.
  • Old cellphones, and memory cards. I don't know why.
  • A knife, for no reason at all, other than than I found it during my last move, tossed it into the drawer just before loading it onto the truck and have never taken it out.
In the second drawer:
  • My drawers!
  • white crew socks (the one true sock-type)
In the third drawer:
  • "dress" socks - no navy blue socks though, since I can't tell the difference between navy blue and black until I'm out of the house and realize I've done the bad thing.
  • A mega key ring with a billion old and current spare keys. This is a terrible place to keep it, I know.
Underneath the nightstand:
  • A power strip
  • A laptop AC charger
  • The other sock, for which I've been looking.

posted by terpia at 9:33 AM on July 2, 2008

I don't have a bedside table either, but here is what I would put in mine:

Davenports and kettle drums, and swallow tail coats, table cloths and patent leather shoes, bathing suits and bowling balls, and clarinets and rings, cuff links and hub caps, trophies and paperbacks, neck tie and boxing gloves.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:38 AM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Projector alarm clock (one of the few gadgets I couldn't manage without).
More dust.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 9:38 AM on July 2, 2008

Books, books, books, and more books. I keep current reading materials, an alarm clock, and my Waring blender-turned-lamp on the surface. I have lip balm, moisturizer, bookmarks (really just long strips of heavy-grade paper), a pad of paper and a pen, and socks (my feet get cold at night) in the drawers.
posted by cooker girl at 9:46 AM on July 2, 2008

Surface: Fan, Alarm Clock, pictures,

Top Drawer: Spare car keys. Two packs of cigarettes. LED Flashlight. Water purification tablets. 6 AA spare batteries. AM/FM hand crank radio. Bowie Knife. Leatherman. Waterproof matches. Two lighters. Lighter fluid.

Middle Drawer: 9 MM with child lock. 100 rounds ammo. Two extra clips (empty). Book of edible plants. US Army wilderness survival guide. Detailed maps of surrounding areas. Compass. 50' fishing line.

Bottom Drawer: Permanent markers. Magnifying glass. Two walkie talkies with 4 9V spare batteries. Small Canteen. All-purpose medical kit. Bird watching binoculars. 12 PowerBars. Disposable rain poncho.
posted by Debaser626 at 9:49 AM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

My cell phone (so it can charge over night), a small leather box with eye drops and allergy meds, a lamp, a coaster, a baby monitor, and my GTD list (clipped with a pen).

Mine doesn't have a drawer, but it has two flat surfaces. The lower one has a stack of magazines and a few books.
posted by wheat at 9:52 AM on July 2, 2008

a ton of books, an alarm clock, lamp, medication I take in the morning, a bottle of water, earplugs, a little bowl for random things I pull out of my pockets.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:55 AM on July 2, 2008

parroting others above, a little home defense and something to keep it safe from little hands. Oh, and a cell phone/alarm clock
posted by TUNAPIRATE at 9:56 AM on July 2, 2008

I use the bedside table for anything I dont want to hop out of bed for late at night. My table holds alarm, lamp, bottle of water, my asthma inhaler, ponytail holder, small towel or kleenex for nose. Put things in it that would be convenient for you.
posted by Snoogylips at 10:24 AM on July 2, 2008

On top we've got a lamp, a Chumby, a DLP projector (for watching movies in bed) and typically a glass of water or Coke Zero.

The top drawer is the same thing as everything else, the grownup playtime drawer.
The middle drawer is mine. I keep a dream journal, pens, my passport.
The bottom drawer is my husband's. It is one of the few places in the house that are none of my damn business.
posted by Gucky at 10:28 AM on July 2, 2008

Mine's a combination of what Snoogylips said about stuff I don't want to get up for, and stuff that needs a home but isn't better off elsewhere.

On top: lamp, radio alarm clock, mobile phone and glasses (at night), one bottle of supplements, a coaster, and my iPod (for sleepytime).

Drawers: obligatory exciting stuff (gathering dust), weirdo perfume collection (in ammo boxes) with the sleep-aid stuff easily accessible, emergency melotonin, and a small stash of medication I'm likely to need at night. Also, in a lower drawer, miscellany like earplugs, a mini decant of my shampoo and a European socket adaptor, so I don't have to tear the place apart when I travel.

Books sleep with me, like unaffectionate narrative-heavy pets.

The weird thing is, I moved house in the past week, and I've recreated the bedside arrangement (and bed full of books) almost identically already.
posted by carbide at 10:38 AM on July 2, 2008

On top: voice recorder for dreams & random ideas. iPhone. Speaker gizmo for the iPhone. Stainless steel water bottle and glass. Current book. Little battery-powered alarm clock that doesn't glow because glowing is bad.

I have no drawers. I like it that way. Stuff makes a kind of noise to me, even stuff in drawers.
posted by PatoPata at 10:38 AM on July 2, 2008

So far unmentioned: Light Blocking Face Mask and Moisturizing Gloves.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:45 AM on July 2, 2008

Lamp, alarm clock, phone, TV remote, bottle of water, flashlight (the power goes out occasionally during nighttime storms and I can fall asleep better if I know I have a light source nearby), whatever book and/or magazine I'm currently reading.
posted by amyms at 11:06 AM on July 2, 2008

An old GameBoy, a little screwdriver for fixing my glasses, an ethernet cable...

Holy shit. I guess I'm a nerd.
posted by spilon at 11:18 AM on July 2, 2008

Alarm clock, books, lotion, lip balm, and sometimes a pad and paper. There's a flashlight there now that I never use, but I don't have another logical place for it. (There's a floor lamp on the other side of my bed.)

For me, books take up most of the room. (Not *a* book. A stack of books so I have a lot to choose from.)
posted by iguanapolitico at 12:00 PM on July 2, 2008

I keep a flashlight and a bottle of water by my bed.
posted by Class Goat at 12:23 PM on July 2, 2008

Top surface: alarm clock, lamp, laptop, kleenex, assorted beverage glasses I'm too lazy to take to the kitchen.

Top drawer: jewelry box, manicure kit, the contents of my pockets from that day.

Bottom drawer: handcuffs, blindfold, lube, condoms, nipple clamps, collars, and a whole other bunch of related stuff I can't remember right now.

Bottom shelf: latex gloves and an assortment of (non-sexual) books.
posted by desjardins at 12:30 PM on July 2, 2008

Books, pain killer, water bottle, underwear (so I can just groggily reach for it in the morning w/o having to get up), extra reading glasses, the earrings that I forgot to take out the night before (and the night before that and the night before that ad infinitum), lip balm, lotion, my son's glasses from when he was 8 (yeah, he's 22 now), a pair of nail clippers, items that I do not really want to identify because they've been in there so long.

Anything you don't want to have to get up to retrieve once you're snuggled in.

This is like the memory game: here's 20 items on a tray. Look at it for one minute and then name as many of the items as you can remember.
posted by nax at 12:33 PM on July 2, 2008

As a diehard liberal I'm slightly ashamed to admit this, but since we had an intruder in the apartment last year while we were asleep, I keep a replica handgun and a samurai sword by the bed.

My only "clever" thing is a small decorative cardboard box that I can dump my daily disposable contact lenses into before falling asleep. I can't see well enough to navigate from the waste bin to the bed without lenses.
posted by roofus at 2:39 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

I also have three drawers: (1) condoms/lube/toys/massage oils; (2) health stuff like arnica, lip balm, melatonin, eye drops, cough drops; (3) misc: pen, sketchbook, nailfile, ipod charger or whatever.

The naughty stuff is in the bottom drawer so that nosy people, starting at the top, will get bored before they get to the rummaging through the last drawer.
posted by kenzi23 at 3:26 PM on July 2, 2008

That said, I clearly live a much more boring life than a majority of the responses you're getting here.

Me too, and perhaps a much more celbiate life.

Still, build it and they will come!

Loved the idea about the underwear (no more having to waggle across the room), the torch, first aid kit, and also having the box of tissues in the draw, instead of defiantly on top.
posted by oxford blue at 5:41 PM on July 2, 2008

On/in our table we have all the obvious things (books, clock, glasses, wallet, lamp, dirty stuff), but also a spray bottle (to squirt our puppy when she's being obnoxious), earplugs, the ipod remote, a spare pair of socks, belts, nail clippers, and our spare pillowcases. Because we only notice that they need changing until we're already in bed. When I was single I also had nail polish & remover, old diaries, and homework.
posted by lilac girl at 6:28 PM on July 2, 2008

On top: nail scissors, alarm clock, small bowl for hairclips etc, earplugs, old train tickets (not sure why). We have a nice broad headboard for the bed which will hold reading lamps, radio and spectacles.

Top drawer: naughty things, perfume, earrings, some jewellery

Bottom drawer: other jewellery
posted by altolinguistic at 9:36 AM on July 3, 2008

Saline for my dry, dry eyes; a box of dog toys that dogs can only have in the night; coasters; electric blanket controls in the cold months; and the usual alarm clocks and tissues.

The cats will remove all of these, loudly, at random times.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 3:43 PM on July 3, 2008

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