What you are aking for is document specific tool presets. All presets could be included like patterns, shapes, brushes, swatches etc attached to the document.
I'm not so sure about the need for this, Photoshop is not a vector app and its easy enough to load in swatch sets, these can be loaded in with an Action if you want. You can attach them to documents using Events Manager if you were desperate for this feature.
Photoshops Interface is flexible - and highly customisable.
"like an old house that has been added to and remodeled many times as the family grew" - like the metaphor, but learn about workspaces, and all the view options. You can really strip it down if that's what you want.
Is there a setting somewhere I can make to install them? I have Widows XP Pro, and tons of hard drive.