My hair was past my butt (over 24 inches past my shoulders) & straight. I, too, just did simple things like putting it in buns & braids all the time.
However, I was purposely growing mine to donate to Locks of Love (www.locksoflove.org), where they use is to make wigs for kids with cancer.
It felt GREAT to cut it all off (about a month ago) & now I have nice, short hair that doesn't require lots of conditioner/treatments or time!!