Over and Out
When the world seems particularly chaotic, do your best to leave worries at the door, with the help of some intelligent planning. Employ no-fuss solutions. Make sure all your essentials—glasses, keys, cell phone—have a designated home. Without it, you're likely to drop stuff off on any available surface. Next thing you know, it's “Where did I leave my keys?”, “Honey, I can't find my wallet,” and “Where's my train ticket?” No need to beat yourself up about it. Organization is a skill like any other that just needs to be learned and put into use until it becomes a habit.
In some cases, changing behavior, yours or a family member's, may be too much to ask. In that case, put simple storage solutions in place that support the reality of the situation. For example, a storage bench may sound like a great idea, but if you're more likely to put stuff on top of it than open up the lid and put things inside, consider in-and-out lidless baskets instead.
Once you've got your entryways set up and organized, take an extra moment out of each day to keep things tidy. Think of it as you would a diet. It's one thing to shed the pounds; the real challenge comes with maintaining the success. Keep tabs to prevent your entryway, mudroom, and hallways from becoming dumping grounds. Hang things up, put things away, and keep things moving. Don't just drop and go. If your kids are leaving their books and backpacks on the floor, it's probably because you haven't given them a better alternative. Whatever storage options you employ, make sure they're user-friendly and easy for kids to access on the run.