I bought my MBP 2.5 years ago, it came with a 240 GB drive. I don't remember how much free space it hat to start with, but let's just say 200 GB.
I mostly use it for personal use (different machine at work). I don't have movies/music stored on it (all on external drive) and have some applications installed (total app folder size: 20 GB). My ~ dir is also approx 20 GB.
My drive now says 140 GB free. I can't explain the 20 GB difference. I think apple isn't removing downloaded updates after installing. Where should I look?
Another idea was mail cache folder. Where is this folder?
I suggest you download a utility that shows the size and arrangement of your files. Personally, I use DaisyDisk. It is shareware, so for your purposes, it would suffice to trial the software.
Mail attachments are stored in
It is unlikely that OS X is keeping packages after installation through Software Update. You should first look to your cache
~/Library/Caches/and perhaps your sleepimage, which is located under
/var/vm/sleepimage(note that the sleepimage is recreated every time the system goes to sleep. Read more about disabling it here if you are concerned with HD space).
DaisyDisk (or equivalent) will do a much better job at identifying where the "growth" has occured on your filesystem so that you may excise it than we ever could. I suggest you give it a try.