Okay, fair enough. It's true. Having crap all over your house (as I currently do) is a sign of an unbalanced life. It means you either buy too much, purge too rarely, or spend too much time working/playing/blogging and not enough time nesting.
It would follow then that quick, easy, storage solutions are just band-aids designed to hide the real problem. Whatever. Have you ever been stuck without a band-aid when you needed it? It's the pits. So get some bandaids. Get some really really goodlooking ones.
Like this hall tree for instance. Perfectly sized for kids' jackets, shoes, hats, and gloves all wrapped in a cute little cowboy package. Joyful also has an elegant tall one in espresso brown for grownups.
Our benches don't even get away with just looking pretty. We've got a gorgeous rustic white one with deep drawers under the seat. It looks like the lovechild of a wayward throne and a garden gate.
Some people seem satisfied with a shelf here or there but I'm partial to a cabinet. In some mythical Pottery Barn catalog world, we all fold our sweaters and stack our magazines perfectly on shelves. I like to throw them in something and shut the door. We have a very handy nightstand right now in rustic white that not only has the cutsy little drawer for your "novel" or your "earplugs" but has a big cabinet underneath for whatever else you might have around.
Someday you might not need furniture with storage. You will be calm, balanced, and organized and your spartan little house will be guest-ready at every moment. When that happens you can proudly rip off your storage band-aid. Have fun with that.