Neither me or any of my friends could afford miniatures, much less could get any kind of terrain. So, we played without it (and had lots of fun). Consequently, 1" equals 10 feet or 10 yards made no sense, really. I could justify it, but it was just that for me, a rationalization. Encumbrance just magified that issue. In one case, it made sense, dungeoneers coudn't just bring everything with them. But, the amount of stuff the game allowed you to carry was absurd. Not only that, but it took a lot of play time to mange. If you were to skip encumberence, character creation usually took less than 15 minutes in Basic D&D. With Encumberance rules, I have spent 45 minutes making a 1st level character with 4 hit points and proer adventure equipment.
The first several games I designed still had encumberance rules. Only recently have I abandoned the idea of regulating how much people can carry. And since then I have noticed that when less emphasis is put on how much you can carry, players spend less time trying to push that limit. It is still a fun rule to play with when that sort of loot-based adventuring is called for.