I've rarely ever used miniatures in my D&D games. I've come to realize that a big factor in that is likely because of what was available when I started playing. Kids a few years older than me were lucky, because from 1980-82 Grenadier produced a ton of AD&D-branded miniatures. These mostly came in a series of themed boxed sets, and included a wide variety of character-types and monsters, and even a box of "hirelings" including pieces like torchbearers and two guys hauling a giant treasure chest. Just about everybody I know who's a few years older and started playing D&D a couple years before me had several of these sets, and their conception of the "look and feel" of the game was heavily influenced by them - both the minis themselves and the art on the box covers. It's not much of an exaggeration to say that these Grenadier minis sets were as central to the "shared experience" of AD&D c. 1980-82 as anything TSR put out - these guys were seemingly every bit as ubiquitous as Tomb of Horrors, Against the Giants, and the Fiend Folio.
Alas, in 1983 TSR revoked Grenadier's license and started producing their own D&D minis sets, and by the time I was getting into the game in 1984 these were the only "official" D&D-branded minis available, which was unfortunate, both because the minis themselves kind of sucked - they were mostly pretty unattractive, plus they had infamously flimsy accouterments - weapons and wands broke off almost immediately - and because while there was a wide variety of character-types (separate boxes of clerics, fighters, magic-users, and thieves) there were almost no monsters. According to the website DND Lead TSR did release both a boxed set of humanoids and blister packs of a few other monster types (mostly things from the Monster Manual II) but I don't recall ever seeing any of those in a store. I did have a few monster minis (I remember a thing from Grenadier called "Monster Manuscript" that was, like, half AD&D monsters and half other weird things) but they weren't really satisfactory because they weren't really the D&D monsters - I could put a piece of metal on the table and tell the players that it was supposed to be a displacer beast or an umber hulk or whatever, but of course it wasn't.
So, while we were able to represent our characters with minis and would usually set some out on the table to show the party's marching order, we didn't really have anything to represent most monsters, so we generally didn't bother. We might use a random mini or dice as a place-holder, but more often we just didn't represent them at all. Even when we did use minis we didn't have a gridded surface, and didn't measure distances with rulers or tape-measures, and certainly didn't have any diorama-type dungeon terrain or anything like that (though I seem to recall that I did have a set that included, maybe, a treasure chest and a pile of either coins or bones that I would occasionally place on the table). Even if that stuff was available, we didn't have either the money or the room for it. Most of us had a couple boxes with a quasi-random assortment of minis because we liked the idea of them and I think we all had a mental image of how cool it would be to have a full set of really well-painted minis with an elaborate scenery diorama, but because we didn't have enough for that (and also were bad at painting, so those we did have tended to look terrible) it gradually started to seem like dealing with them was more trouble than it was worth and by about 1988 or so we'd pretty much given up on using them entirely (which is a bit ironic, since that's right when Ral Partha picked up the AD&D license from TSR and started producing exactly the kinds of monster minis we had really wanted and weren't able to get 3-4 years earlier).
It wasn't until I was an adult after the turn of the century that I fell in with some of those folks who were on average a few years older than me and still had all their old Grenadier sets that I played in an AD&D game that had the "full minis experience" - i.e. a to-scale map on a gridded dry-erase board, minis for all the characters and monsters, and tracking of exact movement, ranges, lines of sight, areas of effect, and such. At first I embraced it, because it felt like I was finally getting to do what we'd always wanted to do as kids but weren't able to, but after a few sessions I realized that I'd grown too accustomed to playing the other way and didn't actually like using minis in this way. I felt like by putting so much focus on "the board" that some of the immersive sense of wonder was lost - having that tangible representation of the scene in front of me seemed to make it harder, rather than easier, to picture it in my mind. This became a point of conflict with some of those folks, because I was advocating for playing without minis which to them seemed ridiculous, because they'd always played that way.
To this day "my" version of D&D doesn't really include minis - maybe a row of them in the middle of the table to show marching order but definitely no grid or to-scale mapping. I'd play in a game with that stuff (assuming it was someone else's collection), but it would feel to me like a different flavor of game, and I'm not comfortable running a game that way. And I think the biggest contributing factor to that is the historical accident that the period when I got into the game happened to be a time when there weren't good AD&D minis on the market - after the Grenadier sets had vanished and before the Ral Partha sets appeared.