A technique I use to keep the rear hub components "straight" when removing/replacing the rear wheel:
Remove rear axle cotter pin, washer, and nut . . . drive axle out from right to left, using ratchet handle as a driver . . . when ratchet handle penetrates flush with the inside edge of the right spacer, stop driving and begin withdrawing axle by pulling from the left-hand side . . . do NOT withdraw axle completely, but leave it spearing the left-hand spacer . . .
You now have freed the rear wheel/cush hub/inner spacer; you can push the assembly forward and remove the chain from the sprocket to remove the wheel, or . . . I usually leave the chain toothed on the sprocket, working the cush hub out to then roll the rim away.
I leave the bike with the ratchet handle in the right side, and the partially-withdrawn axle in the left side, spearing their respective spacers, chain tension sliders, etc., awaiting re-assembly. Sequence of components is in no doubt, since the order of the parts remains unchanged from when the wheel was installed (except, perhaps, for the inner spacer--keep an eye on that guy, when removing the wheel, make sure it's in place when reinstalling).
Upon rear wheel restoration, chain tension is the same; leaving the sprocket and chain engaged, less grease is transferred to the hands than when removing the chain from the sprocket, in my experience, YMMV!
Last edited by Damocles; 04-27-2015 at 08:40 AM.