First off, here is my EDC storage:
A drawer in my office with some anti-skid lining. I also have a Pelican-like case for batteries and a few of the EDC related maintenance tools in the drawer. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. I will be changing what I use in a few months, however, as my son could start walking at anytime and "accidentally" discovering the contents of this drawer could be bad. So I am researching options now and I have a little information to share. There are a couple of good options out there, and they range in price from ten bucks to a thousand dollars.
Among the plastic/polymer options out there, a few are well-known to gear geeks and EDC fans. Pelican cases, like the ones in this impressive collection, are go to boxes for knives, flashlights, and other gear:
They are not cheap, but they are really, really rugged. Pelican cases, and the dozens of rip-off designs, are really designed to be portable. They are difficult to open when stacked and they do not stack all that well.
Then there is the Systainer system from Tanos. They are well known in Europe and to Festool fans worldwide, but as stand alone containers they only recently became available in America. Systainers are a mix legos and tupperware. Here is a demo video:
All systainers are compatible with all other systainers and they are all interlocking. Some require different configurations, but every single box locks into every other box. There are many different sizes and many different colors (red, gray, and light gray being the most common). But the thing that really sets the systainer apart from other storage methods are the inserts. There are literally dozens of different inserts that you can choose from to fill out your boxes. They have everything from little plastic dividers to pick and pluck foam.
I have a Pelican case and I like it. It is the perfect size for a small light and knife. I also have a larger case that I use for batteries but it is a Pelican knock off. That said, with the announcement of the Systainers coming to America, I am excited to try one.
I am not a mechanic type, so I will defer to others here, but lots of people use mechanic's chest. Here is a good example of what to get and how to set one up:
You can, of course, go crazy with mechanic's chests. I'd recommend picking one up at a pawn shop and trying it out before you invest in one. They can be very expensive. They also rust, so you need to have some rust prevention/repair plan in place, though there are a lot of rust inhibitors out there. Here is one used for metal hand tools. A few of these wouldn't hurt in any storage system.
Overall, the cost and the weight are things that dissuade me from this option.
Ah, envy thy name is Gerstner. Gerstner has been making ultra high quality machinist's chests for over 100 years in my home town of Dayton, Ohio. They are one of the few companies that remain from the heyday of chests. Their stuff is exceedingly expensive (though the annual factory sale is coming up usually in May or June). There is an "international" (overseas) line and they are significantly cheaper. Of course Harbor Freight sells a rip off version of the Gerstner chest--the Windsor chest. I have yet to see one of the HF versions up close, but an HF opened near me so once I get a peek, I'll report back. Usually, though HF stuff is dirt cheap because it is dirt quality.
Cooler than a "Windsor" chest and cheaper than a new Gerstner chest, is an old Gernster or similar quality chest. Local estate sales, flea markets, and antique stores (that you may be dragged to by a significant other) are excellent places to find old, high quality wooden chests. Finding a 1920s mint Gerstner would be a steal, but most folks know that these chests are worth a lot. Other ideas: old map chests work well, as do certain designs for shoes and shoe shine kits.
There are a lot of ideas out there and these are the three I have been looking at. Unfortunately none work for me, so I am making my own. Once I have the design set in Sketch Up, I'll post the plans.
Here is a good thread from EDCF on EDC storage at home.