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Let’s face it: Most of us probably spend way too much time glued to our phones — especially right before bed when the blue light emitted from screens and the distraction of doomscrolling can hurt our bodies’ natural ability to get a good night’s sleep.
To solve this problem, DIY designer Cara Newhart of Never Skip Brunch created the “tech tuckaway,” an anti-clutter design hack that allows her to hide her electronics in her nightstand without unplugging them.
Before doing this DIY project, she admits, her nightstand was a bit of a mess.
“Cleaning it out has been really helpful for my wind-down routine,” says Newhart. “I'm no longer digging around in drawers — I have a place for everything.”
If your nightstand could also benefit from some clutter-clearing organizational help, keep reading. Below, Newhart breaks down exactly how to update your bedside table so you can smartly store your electronics.
How To Create a Tech Tuckaway Nightstand
This beginner-friendly DIY project will show you how to make your nightstand double as a media cabinet.
By drilling a hole in the back of the drawer, you’ll be able to put your electronics away at night — keeping them out of sight but still plugged in.
What You’ll Need
- Microfiber cloth
- Drill bit
- Surge protector power strip
- Adhesive strips
- Adhesive hook (optional)
Before you get started, Newhart recommends emptying your nightstand and wiping it down with a microfiber cloth to remove any dust.
“I like to clear everything off and give myself a blank space to start with,” she says.
Then get ready to drill.
- Mark the place on the back of your nightstand where you want to drill the hole. “I picked the drawer closest to me because, from a usability standpoint, I needed to be able to reach my phone while I was in bed to use my alarm,” says Newhart.
- Pick a drill bit that will create a hole larger than the plug you want to snake through it and attach it to your drill. Newhart used a Ryobi One drill, which she says is an approachable option for beginners, and a 1.5” Forstner drill bit.
- Stabilize your nightstand.
- Holding the drill with two hands (one hand on the trigger and the other on the back of the drill), press the drill bit into the wood. Try to get the drill up to full power by pressing the trigger all the way down as you push the drill bit into the back of the nightstand.
- Release your finger off the trigger once you’ve created a hole, taking care to make sure the drill has completely stopped before you put it away.
- Clean up any debris. If applicable, use sandpaper to smooth rough or splintered wood.
- Wipe the nightstand down with a microfiber cloth again to get rid of dust particles.
- Mount a surge protector power strip to the inside of the drawer using a removable adhesive. “I used 3M [adhesive] strips because I really like the fact that you're not committed,” says Newhart. “So if tech changes or chargers change or you don't want to use [the nightstand] in that way anymore, you can take it apart.” Newhart also placed a 3M wire hook on the back of the drawer to guide the cord out of the drawer.
Style Your Nightstand for Better Sleep
After your “tech-tuckaway” is set up, it’s time to start adding items back onto your nightstand.
Newhart keeps a little basket on top of hers to house essential oils, including a lavender-scented one and a blend called “Chill Pill.”
“I like little baskets because I think, visually, it helps to put multiple things into just one item,” she says. “It looks cleaner.”
Her nightstand is also home to a soothing candle she lights when she’s reading before bed, a stem vase, and a sleep mask.
“Normally, I'm a maximalist,” says Newhart. “But when it comes time for sleep, my brain needs to be able to wind down. I'm a visual person, so by adding fewer things — giving myself less to look at — it kind of creates more space.”
Her advice to others when it comes to decorating a nightstand? Less is more.
“Add decor but not too much,” says Newhart. “Keep it simple so that it doesn't feel overwhelming.”
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