Tackle the four big problems that plague entryways -- shoes and bags, outdoor gear, pets, and purse fallout -- by giving each its own area.
The Gear Zone: Provide plenty of organized storage space for coats, school bags, sports equipment, and shoes.
The Wet Zone: Create a drip-safe area by lining a wall with oilcloth so there's a place for wet raincoats and umbrellas to dry.
The Pet Zone: Designate an area right next to the door for bowls, food, leashes, toys, and grooming gear.
The Communication Zone: Stash items like change, mail, and keys on a table.
Adapt an armoire and shelving unit to make separate areas for kids' stuff and grown-ups' stuff. Carve out space for a small bench, and hide bulky items behind closed doors.
Out-of-season bins: Put hats, gloves, and scarves in pretty baskets or boxes on top of the armoire and bookcase. Divide the baskets by family member so it'll be easy to find each person's stuff.
Children's shoe space: Store your kids' shoes in bins you can tuck under the bench. Designate one for each child.
Family staging area: Personalize the outside of an armoire with chalkboard film and cork to create a message spot where everyone can check the calendar and then pack what's needed for the day's activities.
Adult coat and shoe storage: Use a divided armoire to hang adults' coats and to stash shoes and slippers.
Children's coat spot: Make it easy for kids to put away their jackets. Screw Shaker pegs into a chair rail at a height where they can reach.
Changing bench: Use a bench to encourage everyone to take the time to sit, remove shoes, and then stow them in the appropriate spot.
Bags and sports gear shelving: Assign kids their own shelves in a large, decorative bookcase. They'll be able to store everyday things.
Equipment bin: Gather tennis rackets, lacrosse sticks, and baseball bats in wire baskets.
Find a place for everything you dump as you walk in the door or grab on the way out. Organize storage for cell phones, mail, purses, keys, and other small items.
Purses, keys, and little stuff: Pick a piece like this buffet, which has ample storage space.
Shred junk mail daily. Keep a small cordless vacuum on hand to pick up dirt and mud that's tracked in.
Create a charging station -- mount a power strip in the back of the buffet drawer and drill a hole through the back of the piece for the cord. Dock cell phones, MP3 players, and other electronics.