We all have one.  They come in many shapes, sizes, colours and and finishes. Sometimes they are at the front and sometimes they are at the back.  They almost always see a lot of traffic. The traffic is either coming or going through here...sometimes the traffic stops here...Very often the traffic leaves a deplorable mess here.  For is the bane of my existence. It is....

This picture illustrates how my front hall looks on any given day in the spring, summer or fall.

Below is our front hall winter. Our front door is the only convenient entrance to our home and ALL of the family traffic flows through here. The closet to the left is very functional, and sometimes very organized, but not very large. We live in Ottawa...the variable weather conditions in winter require many types of outdoor footwear. Although I have insisted that only one pair of boots per person may remain in the hall,  as you can see, many boots have taken permanent residence in this modest space.

I also insist that all footwear staying in the hall MUST be placed on the small mats to dry and have their  heels against the wall and lined up.  I think it looks less crowded, more organized. Alas, my family does not heed my words....witness the chaos. Now take a look at the throw rugs and surrounding hard wood floors (beyond embarrased to be showing you, but for a good cause).  This is only one day worth of slush, muck and dirt.  It is impossible to keep up with winter constantly visiting our front hall...and then of course, that same mess migrates to other areas of our house on the soles of socks and slippers.

Therefore, THE FRONT HALL CLEANING PROCEDURE is performed...and this is how it goes
1. move all the footwear to the kitchen
2. shake out the mats...toss in kitchen
3. shake out the rugs...toss in kitchen
(I also do 1, 2 and 3 for quick fixes on non-slushy days...when there is only grit...then I sweep)
4. vacuum the floor removing dust, dirt, salt and sand
5. vacuum the rugs.... or take directly to washing machine depending on soil level
6. wash the floor, baseboards and sometimes walls (some people, who shall remain nameless, kick off their boots, hitting many surfaces at once with flying muck....grrrrrr)
7. replace the mats, and rugs when floors are dry
8. return only the necessary boots to the matt making sure the heels are against the wall....put the extra boots in the closet...if they will fit
9. sit down, have a glass of wine... I mean water, because I am parched and exhausted from this labour intensive exercise
10. pray it does't snow for a few days so I DO NOT have to repeat the procedure again tomorrow

 I COULD spend hours each day washing the rugs and floors, but of course that would be counterintuitive. Oh and one other thing...what's with the boots sitting in the middle of the hall?...I am going to KILL myself bringing in the groceries some day.

Sometimes I wonder if I should have carried the herringbone pattered tile from the vestibule, into the hall, but that would not have reduced the ucky, gucky puddles.
At one point I was thinking of having a really durable, shows-no-dirt-runner (or two) made to cover the length of the hall...however, the kitchen and vestibule doorways do not line up, so the runner would be design sensitivity will not allow that.

I have also contemplated  painting a faux rug on the hardwood....I would love the challenge of creating and executing the design.  It would solve a few issues....perhaps the pattern would detract from the sodden slush, there would be no need for throw rugs, therefore, less vacuuming, and rug laundry...actually better for the environment really. I could just have a mop handy whenever winter messes come knocking at our front door. My concern is the durabiltiy of this solution...would the paint fade and crack creating a more expensive dilema in the future?

I am truly flumoxed. I NEED FRONT HALL THERAPY STAT!!!!

Please let me know if you have front hall solutions for winter....I would be eternally grateful.

Addendum:  Yesterday, I undertook THE FRONT HALL CLEANING PROCEDURE. Last night my daughter and 3 friends came through the front door....and yes, my earlier cleaning efforts were for naught. The rugs and floors were a disgusting mess...and there has been no snow for several days...I give up!!!

All othe above photos for "The Bane of My Existence... " taken by Maureen Coates unless otherwise specified