I probably don't take the best care of my gear as some of you, but probably better than most. I think gear is meant to be used. A great lens sitting the the condo is not going to get me a single great shot.
What's more, I bought an SLR *because* I can switch lenses, not so that I'd have a machine so delicate that I couldn't use it half the time.
Of course, I am not going to switch lenses in blowing sand, and I do take care to keep things as clean as possible. Just like insuring your gear, I think it's a good idea to mentally set aside the cash to get the stuff cleaned thoroughly every now and again. Once you've embraced that, its pretty liberating.
+1 on filters, too. Guess how long it took me to buy a UV filter to protect my 10-22 after I took this shot:) :Untitled
, on Flickr
It threw dirt all over the inside of my camera bag, too. Lesson learned-close the bag!