My kids could play outside every day if I let them, which is certainly something I'm proud of. I'm glad they like to be so active. But they used to make a complete mess of the house every single time they came in! Coats on the ground, boots thrown as they took them off, and inevitably, mud on the carpet. It had to stop.
When I was younger, I remember our house having a mudroom by the back door. These are simply areas of the house designed to get messy. They're easy to clean and convenient to use. I decided I was going to do something similar with our home now.
I started by laying linoleum down around the back door, more than was there before, so the kids had more space to move around. Then, I installed mudroom lockers by the back door. These lockers are designed to be both deeper and wider than a typical locker, which means they have plenty of space to keep my childrens' coats, sweatshirts, sweatpants, and anything else they need to put in there, away. It's also right by the back door, so its the first thing they see when they come in.
And the result? Success! They almost always hang their stuff up when they come in! It worked great, though I realized they still needed somewhere for their hats and gloves. I solved this easily enough by setting some old freezer baskets in the bottom of the locker. They were deep enough to keep all the winter accessories in, and I wasn't using them anymore. They're simply wire baskets, and look good in the lockers.
So if you're trying to get your children to keep the house a bit cleaner, consider making the house work for you. It's helped me out, and now I can enjoy them playing without worrying about cleaning up after them. Much.