Mind if I throw an idea in the pot? ...... I didn't hear any nahs so I guess that means go ahead.
If you have the unused space, or can cobble together a partition or partitions large enough to hold all your data, you can do something like this:
Use a small /home partition, say 3 - 6 Gig. or no separate /home partition at all if you wish. Make several additional partitions to contain Music, Documents, Pictures, Downloads or whatever. Or make one larger partition, My_Data, let's say. Of course you need to move all the appropriate data into the appropriate partitions.
Create folders in your home directory reflecting the above names. Then mount those partitions in /etc/fstab as /home/username/Music .... /home/username/Pictures .... etc. In one of your data folders create a folder called ConfigBak. Copy all your hidden config files in your /home directory into ConfigBak.
When you install the new version use the same user name as the old install. Create your data folders in your /home again and go into fstab and change the mount points back to the newly created folders.
You can then copy back the config folders that you wanted to keep, to the /home directory from ConfigBak.
Viola... you are back in business. Now you have the extra security of having all your data on separate partitions. Even if your system completely self destructs your data is safely on its' own partitions.
There are all kinds of possibilities.... this is just one. Remember the basics. Linux doesn't see partitions or drives. It only sees the folders in the file system. The file system is everything. Once any folder in the system, including folders you create, is bound or mounted to a partition, Linux neither knows nor cares where the folder contents reside. It could be a different partition, a different drive, a different computer, out on the net, or wherever.
There are two requirements. You must have a folder in the system to mount to. You must have an entry in /etc/fstab with the correct path in order for it to mount automatically on boot.
You can mount the same partition to more than one folder, but you can't mount more than one partition to a given folder.
It's really not that hard once you get your head wrapped around the idea.
Fun ... huh!