/User/Me contains the usual eight folders (Desktop, Documents, Downloads, etc). Those eight folders contain a total of just less than 18 GB of data. However, /User/Me asserts that it takes up more than 24.5 GB of space. What's taking up the secret six and a half gigs, and how do I get rid of it? I've already done all the usual stuff, like emptying the trash for the system, separately for iPhoto, etc., and I'm not doing anything strange with this system. I use it to surf the web, send e-mail, store pictures, and write the occasional letter.
I have the same problem at the hard drive level: The top level of the hard drive contains four folders and one alias for a total of 41 GB—but the hard drive claims to have used nearly 60 GB. The hidden /usr/ folder only accounts for one more gig, so that still leaves 18 missing ones. Is this likely to be a Time Machine problem? /Volumes/ claims to be just 12 KB but contains a folder 2012-12-10-131922 that looks like it contains a complete copy of the Applications folder, among other things, and which declines to provide a "Delete" option.