I really like using LaTeX for writing, both articles and for teaching. I find that it eliminates many of the hassles of using Word. I started trying to figure out how to write my own packages this past year and ran into many problems. One of those problems was figuring out a way to keep the .sty packages in a directory that I could easily access and that would be convenient for my workflow rather than what the LaTeX directory structure enforced.
The LaTeX search path includes two environment variables: TEXMFHOME and TEXMFLOCAL that determine where you would store .sty files to be recognized by LaTeX.1 If you follow ...