I've been using the Gimp now for a few years and have really come to love it. Since getting my larger 22-inch flat panel, The Gimp has become much easier to use.
Gimp makes use of floating tool panels. One panel for bushes, eraser, paint bucket and other tools. another panel handles brush size, navigation, layers,etc. And a main panel that houses the image you're going to edit.
These panels tend to cover one another up. You can tweak and improve the interface as I mentioned in an earlier blog, but having a larger monitor is the best way to tame Gimp. The extra screen real estate really allows you to spread things out. Panels no longer get in the way of each other.