We do not have a mud room or entrance foyer in our home. We have struggled with where to drop our stuff when we get home each day. We've tried establishing a few different routines but nothing stuck. This is something I finally came up that has worked!
This past summer we painted our entire house and put in new wood floors and new trim. It was quite a job but I love the end results! Since we had moved all our furniture to paint, I decided to make some changes with furniture placement. In doing so, I remembered I had this shelf in the basement. I had purchased it from Target about 5 years ago and we had it in the livingroom area of our finished basement with lots of books and movies on it. I had Ryan bring it upstairs and I went shopping!
I bought one of these baskets at Target and brought it home. I found that if I removed one of the 5 shelves (there were 5 and I took one out and spaced the remaining 4 evenly) I could fit four baskets in there perfectly. So I got on online and ordered 3 more baskets just like them from Target.com (we live more than an hour away from a Target or any other form of civilization!)
But I went vertical with the storage which worked better for our house! Plus I didn't need to buy a new piece of furniture!
The kids love having their own special basket! They know when they get home each day they can put their lunch box, mittens, hats, school bag, homework folder, etc. in their own basket. Claire and Oliver's jackets even fit in their baskets. Ryan and I have papers to grade (both of us teachers), purse, wallet, sunglasses, letters to be mailed, etc. in our basket. I love it because we don't have all of that all over the floor or on the tops of tables or countertops,
In the mornings we all know the stuff we need is in our basket and ready to go! The kids are well trained with this system and like I said, they love having their own baskets. Even Oliver pulls out his basket to get his coat on each morning when he sees us getting ready to go! It has worked really well and relieved some of our after-school chaos.