One thing that I have been doing for the past 5 years or so has been running all my programs from a portable or USB drive. This allows me to take my software wherever I go. If I need to use certain programs on other people's computers (or on school computers where they don't allow you to install software), this has been a perfect solution.
I recommend using portableapps.com or liberkey.com
Both of these come with custom start menus and other options.
I started out using portableapps, but recently I have been using liberkey. Liberkey allows for automatic updating of the software. This is a great way to keep your software updated and organized.