These areas are usually set up near the door you come and go from most, like a mudroom or foyer. The idea is that everything that is either coming in or going out lands in this area. It is where you drop your keys, purse, wallet and mail when you come home.
And it is where you put the outgoing mail, items to return, things to drop off at a friends or bring back to work.
This process helps you always know where your keys are - and keeps you from forgetting what you need to bring with you when you leave.
It is not a place to accumulate stuff, it is a fluid area where things move in and out.