I've talked a lot about the importance of having a place to go with all the things you bring in the door. You need to be able to "stage" things so that you can sort and redirect them.
At the same time, there's an equally important need for figuring out what to do with stuff that needs to leave your house. Not only does this include your keys, phone, coat, purse, etc. but can also include other items that are easier to forget about: clothing to donate, cloth grocery bags that need to go into the car, items to return to family members, gifts you need to take somewhere, and so forth. You get the idea.
Here are two shots of my entryway/foyer as it appears this evening. Not so great, but not really awful, either. In case you are wondering, I'm not sure why the lamp shade looks so crooked. And yes, our foyer is a little bit bigger than it needs to be, so it's the spot for the train table, too!
There are a few things missing from what normally accumulates here. We got home from visiting at a friend's house, and for whatever reason, my purse, the diaper bag and infant car seat are all elsewhere in the house. Oh, how I long to travel light again someday!
When we first bought the house, I was so excited to buy an entryway set. I am still in love with the mirror, table and lamp, which we found at our local home improvement store. I highly encourage you to consider some sort of table arrangement near your door, even if it's a card table in your garage (provided you normally leave your house through the garage). We have a garage but don't park in it (go figure!) so my main staging area is the foyer.
I try to use the table for things that need to leave the house. There is always a bowl for keys, and that works quite well, provided the keys are placed there when we come in. At the present moment, there is a bag that I need to return to my sister-in-law, and a pack of the wrong baby bottle nipples that I need to return to the store. I still have to track down the receipt and put that there as well. Keeping everything else off the table makes a quick scan possible each time I leave. This is also where I place outgoing mail.
If there is something very, very important that needs to leave the house, I'll often put it in the car when I think of it, or set it right in front of the door so that I'd have to step over it to go outside. I also hang any reusable bags on the doorknob so that they are easy to grab on the way out.
As for organizing things that come in the house, the floor becomes a dumping ground. However, there's plenty of motivation to clean it once I am tripping over and/or kicking things each time I head upstairs.
We decided early on that the coat rack, although not too visually appealing, made a lot more sense than using the hall closet. That serves a much better purpose as part pantry and storage space for folding chairs, TV trays and games.
I am thankful for my slightly-too-large foyer. It does keep the majority of the clutter from winding up in my kitchen. How do you tame your mess at the entryway? I'd love to hear some good ideas.