A family entryway often leads a double life: it's part loading zone, part living room. It's where you and your family land after a busy day, drop your gear and head for comfort. It's also where you greet guests, and the place from which you launch yourself back into the world the next day.
Because it's so heavily used, an entryway's organization and storage systems require careful attention to function smoothly every day. The goal is to equip this space with furnishing and containers that are easy-to-use, intuitive and attractive.
Take stock and sort. The first step in setting up effective storage in an entryway is taking stock of what lives there and how it's used. Are the items small or bulky, used daily, occasionally, or just seasonally? Or, you can sort items by owner, providing separate storage areas with hooks, shelves or cubbies for each member of the family.
Turn your entryway into a communication center. Take advantage of the entryway's strategic location and transform it into a household communication command post. Notice your family's traffic patterns and daily habits, and set up creative systems for sharing keys, sorting mail, and keeping belongings in place. Borrow an idea from wayside inns and use an old hotel key cubby as a family mailbox.
Store at every level. To make the most of your entryway space, place storage at every level: hooks to hang hats and jackets, a table for mail and keys, a bin for boots on the floor, a side table to receive a briefcase or backpack at the end of the day. A bench provides a place to sit and remove wet boots, while the space beneath can house bins and baskets.
Keep it accessible. Because entryway storage is mostly short term – the things you use every day – the key to maintaining order is to make it easy and automatic. The more conspicuous and accessible storage is, the more likely it is to be used. Open receptacles are easiest for people to make use of without having to stop and think; car keys go in the blue bowl, cell phone in the white one. Provide enough appropriate containers – and enough broad hints – and things will find their way to their respective homes.