It just occurred to me that I don't have a complete understanding of how I came up to speed (err,sort of) in being a bit proficient in using Emacs. I've come to realise that the advice given by Emacs developers is sound.
Do not randomly copy .emacs snippets from different users and websites. You have no idea what you copied when you're learning initially and at an intermediate stage, a little knowledge is dangerous!
My .emacs header says that it's 6 years old and I can see what a mess it is when I try to change it. I have repeated path references, lots of commented code, comments which don't make sense and some packages that I don't use at all.
If I clean up my .emacs, I'm pretty sure that I can shave off around 3 seconds of the startup time. I've also noticed that Emacs developers have made more of the customisations that were explicitly set as the defaults which means more stuff can be removed from the init file.
After backing up my .emacs I have deleted a lot of stuff and I don't miss it for over a month now. Going over the .emacs now with a bit more understanding,it's far easier to chop off code than when you're a noob. Of course, the code should not have been there in the first place.