What's On Your Nightstand?


The best roster of personal effects is probably Joan Didion’s packing list from her 1979 book of essays, The White Album. It includes (among other basics) leotards, bourbon, and Basis Sensitive Skin Bar Soap. Both practical and sexy—not to mention luxe in its minimalism—it sums up her training as a Vogue copywriter and transition to itinerant freelance reporter on the West Coast in just a handful of items.

I am not Joan Didion. At any given time, the contents of my purse include:

  • the essentials: wallet, phone, glasses
  • a jumble of discarded bobby pins
  • a crumpled tissue
  • a 10 percent-complete NYT crossword puzzle (also crumpled)
  • a fine point Sharpie that may or may not work
  • a worn-down lipstick in bright red for emergencies
  • two-to-three cherry-flavored chapsticks (denuded of their pink plastic labels and used more or less to the same degree)

Maybe a loose Tic Tac will work its way into the mix, and on days I visit the bank, a cream soda-flavored Dum Dum. From this mélange it can be surmised that: a) I’m astigmatic b) I hate dry lips x 2 and c) I’m not that great at finishing or throwing away things (pretty great at crumpling, though). My bathroom and closet tell similar stories—too much stuff in too small a space, with an ebb and flow of favorites.

But if there’s a single arena where I keep things concise, product-wise, it’s my nightstand. Something about my reluctance to move much once I've called it a night. I need to be able reach what I want and not knock over the rest in the process. Blink and you’ll miss my 'essentials' list: La Roche Posay Nutritic Lips and Aveeno Skin Relief 24hr Moisturizing Lotion (pump-style, not tube). The lip balm makes the cut because it’s a stick and has a perfume and grease level of zero. I’ve never experienced any post-application flaking, and that’s my one requirement at bedtime. The Aveeno, for its part, is the most consistent, fast-absorbing, apply-anywhere, anti-itch lotion I’ve found. It has no mystery, which I prefer, as it’s my belief that people should probably be the most mysterious things anywhere in or around a bed.

But nightstands come in many shapes and sizes; some (unlike mine) even have drawers. I know in this post- Fifty Shades world there are likely many items of interest that could be listed, but for our purposes here, let’s stick with the products. So, beautiful dreamers, speak unto me—what do you keep by your bed? Let's get a little intimate...

—Lauren Maas

Photo by ITG.