Undeadly.org has an interesting article about sticking to base applications. It’s all about making the programs that come in the base system install work instead of needing to install third-party packages to get a comfortable work environment.
It’s OpenBSD specific, but it is generally applicable to any system with a base set of included tools, which generally means all BSDs. The comments have some interesting parts, too, like using a source control system to synchronize dotfiles across multiple systems. (just having one consistent .vimrc would make me happy)