best practice for custom fields?

We use a lot of custom fields for our projects and usually those fields are specific to certain projects, but not always. Is there a best practice around custom fields/configs and also later removing the fields from screens? I could just remove the field from the screen, but then if I later audit the custom fields I can't tell which ones were actually in use before. Should I just hide them in the config? Each solution I come up with has additional questions. So, is there a best practice?

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As Jira is currently implemented you should avoid too many field configurations and create more screen schemes instead. Please read this I hope this will be fixed soon. Please consider to vote there also.

Thanks Dieter. We'll use that as a starting point :)

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