It's possible for data to accumulate in the annex that no files in any branch point to anymore. One way it can happen is if you git rm a file without first calling git annex drop. And, when you modify an annexed file, the old content of the file remains in the annex. Another way is when migrating between key-value backends.

This might be historical data you want to preserve, so git-annex defaults to preserving it. So from time to time, you may want to check for such data:

# git annex unused
unused . (checking for unused data...) 
  Some annexed data is no longer used by any files in the repository.
    1       SHA256-s86050597--6ae2688bc533437766a48aa19f2c06be14d1bab9c70b468af445d4f07b65f41e
    2       SHA1-s14--f1358ec1873d57350e3dc62054dc232bc93c2bd1
  (To see where data was previously used, try: git log --stat -S'KEY')
  (To remove unwanted data: git-annex dropunused NUMBER)

After running git annex unused, you can follow the instructions to examine the history of files that used the data, and if you decide you don't need that data anymore, you can easily remove it from your local repository.

# git annex dropunused 1
dropunused 1 ok

Hint: To drop a lot of unused data, use a command like this:

# git annex dropunused 1-1000

Rather than removing the data, you can instead send it to other repositories:

# git annex copy --unused --to backup
# git annex move --unused --to archive