For many of us, the entryways of our homes are places that collect the essentials in our lives. Shoes and slippers, jackets and sweaters, backpacks and briefcases-they are slipped off, dropped where they land, and kicked to the corner when we get home at the end of the day. While we want to make the transition between work and home as quick as possible, we sometimes pay the price the next morning, when we are searching for those essentials to carry off to school or work.

You can add some efficiency to your days with a place for everything, and everything in its place. A locker room would give each member of the family a place to store those essentials, but really–a locker room in our house? Instead, a hall tree bench provides a stylish alternative to this everyday problem.

Check out furniture websites and catalogs and you are bound to find a hall tree bench in just the style and size you need. Like a storage locker, they are typically tall, meant to be placed against a wall in the mud room, foyer, or hallway. It packs a lot of storage punch in just a couple of feet. A hall tree bench is usually designed with a storage shelf on top, perfect for those things that you don’t want little hands to reach (your laptop, for example), or as a plant shelf to add to your d├ęcor. The back of the hall tree bench typically has multiple hooks, so it’s easy to hang your overcoat, messenger bag, baseball cap, or purse in a convenient place. Many of them come with a mirror installed on the back, so you can check your look just as you head out the door.

Storage options don’t end there. A bench with a hinged lid, upholstered or not, provides a deep space to store those bulky items that take up precious floor space-backpacks, tool boxes, catchers’ mitts, tennis rackets, and hockey pads. Give those important things a permanent home inside the storage bench, and you won’t be tripping over them in the dark or dripping melted snow on them.

If you look for a hall tree bench that sits off the floor, you’ve got space beneath the bench–the perfect place to stow athletic footwear, garden clogs, and house slippers. You’ll have a convenient but out-of-the-way place to store these things right inside the door, just where you need them.

Look around, and you can find a hall tree bench with features you might not have thought about. While including an umbrella stand might be obvious, what about one with a charging station for your cell phone, laptop, or MP3 player? Some elaborate designs integrate storage cabinets and give you enough space to create a small home office in your hall tree bench-bulletin boards, bins for file folders and mail, white boards, or a drop-leaf work surface.

For a single person or a working couple in a small home or apartment, you can find a hall tree bench that can fit in just a few feet of wall space. But for a home for a big family, you can select a modular hall tree bench. If you have the space, you can install a furniture-grade “locker” for each member of the family. That way, everyone has there a personal space for his or her own things. Hooks, seats, drawers, cubbies-it makes organizing easy. With a hall tree bench storage system, there’s no excuse for creating the confusion of an all-out search for backpacks to the morning routine.