Is it possible to create something like a "visibility group" to toggle hiddenness on and off for many many many objects at once? Layers are great and all, but....
You can select a number of objects, and key Ctrl + G to add them to a new group. Then, whenever you want to hide them, key Shift + G to open the Select Grouped menu and select Group.
Key H to hide them and Alt + H to unhide all hidden objects.
Additionally, you can clear the group from any or all of the objects by selecting 1 or more and keying Ctrl + Alt + G. You can also add more objects to the group. Do this by selecting the objects that you want to add, selecting an object that is part of the group, and keying Shift + Ctrl + G.
Hope this helps and happy Blending!