People I've seen who have garages have it made. They have a clean, dry workspace with all of their tools within arms reach. In the most organized garages, a mixture of rolling Snap-on Roll Cab with Drawers and pegboards helps create an organizational paradigm that lets the do-it-yourselfer focus on the task at hand.
One person described working on a project as "zen" and an "artful experience". A clean workspace, plenty of time, no rush. These are critical for any problem-solving roles, whether it be fixing a car or finding bugs in software. Being an engineer, I know how important it is to be organized so one can stay focused.
I'm unfortunately not at a point in my life where I have a garage. I have some tools, but they are extremely disorganized as I'm not a professional with a professional's workspace. Thus, instead of being able to seamlessly go from "car won't start" to "check the plugs" and "regap the plugs", I end up doubling or tripling the time it would take to perform these very simple tasks, just because I spend that time trying to locate the tool in question. Not only does this take time, but it also disrupts the workflow. It's the exact opposite of zen.
I realize that the solution is to get organized, but I also know it has to be sustainable. Organization depends on accessibility and needs to be part of the workflow if it's going to be maintained; otherwise, disorganization once again takes over. With a garage, it's much easier to get and stay organized, without a garage, it seems almost unachievable.
I feel like I'm a little over my head trying to both learn how my car works and concentrate on solving the real problems while at the same time dealing with the distracting problem of having an inadequate, disorganized workspace. What techniques can someone use to get tools organized without a garage? How can this be done cheaply? I was thinking of getting several small, portable toolboxes and labeling them, but I'm not sure if that will be easy to maintain. Working outdoors, how can one keep tools clean of dirt and other debris that may not be exactly friendly to your car's engine bay?