(A description of its use and contents, as requested by Peter)
My nightstand is a low wicker affair -- low because our bed sits only a few inches off the floor. I didn't look this morning, but typically on top there is
1) A few score gaming cards (Pokemon, Magic, Yu-Gi-Oh.) Alan's cards never stay put, and the nightstand is one of those vortices that draws loose objects from all over the house.
2) The book we are reading aloud at present. Right now we're rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Of an evening Tori and Ashley and Alan all come and camp out on the bed, and I read for an hour or so. I make no apologies for the Harry Potter: I think the books are brilliant, even if they are popular, and all five of us love to hear them read aloud.
3) Wrappers from cough drops.
4) Typically some improving book, such as Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche's Everyday Consciousness and Buddha Awakening.
5) From zero to four pairs of reading glasses.
6) The plate and fork from someone's late-night snack, and maybe a cup.
7) A spaghetti-spoon-ladle-watchamacallit that has been drafted into service as a backscratcher.
8) There are -- how to describe them? Pockets, on either end of the nightstand. Or maybe I should say baskets. All in all the thing rather resembles one of those saddles-with-a-basket-on-either-side that mules carry. Anyway, at one end is a box of kleenex, scrunched in. Martha and Alan consume mysteriously vast amounts of kleenex, though I never quite catch them at it. (Really I'm lying, here. What's scrunched into one end is an empty kleenex box. There's another on the floor beside it. Sometimes that one's empty, too, and there's yet another one beside it.) The other pocket is a secret backwater, an eddy where odd books fetch up. A pocket German-English dictionary. A Red Cross First Aid manual. A elementary primer of Go. A mystery bought under the misconception that its author was one we liked (similar name). An abridged Hakluyt's Voyages.
9) Underneath is one of the prime collections of animal hair on the continent. I don't know why people bother to comb llamas for wool, when they could just harvest from under our nightstand. The quantity of hair two cats and a dog can produce daily is extraordinary, and probably explains a great deal about the mysterious kleenex consumption (see 8, above.)
10) A lamp my grandmother gave us.