Decluttering Andrew’s Bedside Table in 60 Minutes

Andrew: So – we wrote rather extensively in the previous blog post about my messy bedside table, and sure enough, that prompted Dearie to finally embark on a mission to declutter and tidy up my bedside table, as part of her pregnancy nesting instincts. Felt like I was on some episode of Extreme Home Makeover with Dearie being the mean ‘professional’ who has come in to intervene… Anyway, so here are pics of the before state:


Andrew: My philosophy for the cupboard below is as long as it fits in without falling out, that’s all that matters! (Jasmine: Ermmm, that just says it all. Now that Dylan is attracted to opening Andrew’s cupboard door, the barely-contained mess within is practically a safety hazard.) As for the top of the bedside cupboard, it’s just a matter of recalibrating the space so that everything fits nicely without falling off and I can access the stuff I need easily in the middle of the night, especially the tissue paper. Also important to ensure I have enough space so I can drop any extra stuff from my pockets there whenever I come back! See – I do have a system and a method behind it all!

Jasmine: The worst part is that when I was trying to remove paraphernalia from Andrew’s drawer, he came over and started trying to help… by putting more stuff in!


Andrew: We do not have any pictures of the process, but in gist, this is what it involved:

  • Purging/ Decluttering: Taking everything out of my cupboard, drawer and cupboard top and deciding what needs to be thrown – criteria: if it hasn’t been used in 1 year, throw it (much to my chagrin)!
  • Cleaning: Cleaning up the insides of the cabinet with a wet kitchen towel, then with a dry piece.
  • Categorising: sorting the stuff that remains based on frequency of use and function.
  • Storing: seeing what storage containers are available, determining which would be best for the space, and placing them in the various receptacles.
  • Systematising: Work out a system to ensure that the area remains tidy after today.

Jasmine: Of the above, I would say the purging step is the most important! We got rid of a whole bagful of crap taking up at least half the space. We weeded out tons of foreign coins (I “punished” Andrew by making him sort out the Singapore coins from the NZ, Malaysian etc coins), stacks of receipts from years past and expired creams, including one which expired in 2010. That’s before we even got married! Goodness!

During decluttering, we also found many items which we already had allocated storage for in the house, such as Andrew’s motley collection of adaptors which we put in the electricals box, and many cards and gifts which we put in the cards box.

The end result

Jasmine: Okay, I’m taking over for this section, dear. Basically, any fancy or pretty storage was out as it was Andrew’s bedside table and he didn’t want it looking girly. My tips are in bold 🙂

My first area to attack was the tabletop, coz you can hide the clutter anywhere else by closing the doors, but a messy table is the first thing one notices.

If you notice, we used a Ted Baker watchbox that looked like a book, which is for Andrew to “park” his essentials there- his watch, wedding ring and Internet banking thingy. Men do need their space though, so give him one spot, preferably concealed, that he can mess up and you won’t say anything about it. That watch-box is it 😀


Determine what is essential. Andrew does a lot of reading so it was also essential to keep our bedside lamp and his books on the tabletop. You can see that the watchbox camouflages into the pile of books quite well. Thankfully, Andrew doesn’t need space for a phone charger as he just hangs it off our bedframe (right side of pic below).


On the top is a sea-shell that Anand got me from one of his trips
many years ago!

Actually, Andrew already had the watch holder and the stackable black trays you’ll see later, but he just didn’t use them as planned, but dumped mounds of coins and receipts there.

After decluttering, I further simplified the system so that even a man can maintain it. How? Simply put, the tabletop should have 2-3 daily essentials, the top drawer should have more essentials that are used almost every 1-2 days, and the cabinet should be for bulkier but less-regularly used items.

So now, he’s got his watch holder back, his inhalers, and eczema creams. These are all important and used on an almost daily basis so that’s why they’re in the top drawer.


If your drawer isn’t lined, do spread out a handkerchief or piece of felt to prevent scuffing of valuable items and also to ensure that they stay in place.

I asked Andrew what he absolutely needed, and he said tissue –_- So I gave him a tissue packet in his top drawer, AND a full-sized tissue box under.

The cabinet here holds items that are less frequently-used, but still important or have sentimental value to Andrew. For example, the clear acrylic box has small items like his cufflinks and iPhone add-ons, while the black stackable boxes hold bulkier necessities, like a watch from Andrew’s dad. Note: If you have extremely expensive possessions, we do recommend storing them somewhere more secure, like a safe or locked drawer, which is what we have done.


For good measure, here’s a final look at the before (shudder)…


And after!


Andrew: Okay – now for the user’s perspective! Aesthetics-wise, this is definitely better than before. Not sure about functionality though, especially having to open the cupboards just to get tissue paper – considering that sometimes Dearie also walks over to my side to get tissue paper. Her system now also involves getting me to keep my wallet in the drawer everyday. Not sure how long I can keep up that system!

I must say though that I am truly a hoarder and I even had receipts in there which were from two years ago – there were AXS credit card payment slips there! However, I do keep some stuff for sentimental value, like some notes which Dear wrote during my Reservist when they went Taiwan. Dear’s response when I told her I kept it for sentimental value was – Just throw it! I do wonder where all the cards I wrote to her went, hmmm… 

Anyway, thanks Dear for prompting me to finally declutter. Now, if you are so free, please help me declutter my documents cabinet/files… Thanks!

Jasmine: Thanks D for being so sporting and letting me junk your crap empower you in managing your belongings. Your side of the room is now almost habitable, so I feel like I can sleep without the air purifier tonight. Haha.


One response to “Decluttering Andrew’s Bedside Table in 60 Minutes

  1. Pingback: Hiding in Full View: Storage and Home Organisation for our 4-Room Flat | Andrew Loves Jazzy

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