How to minimise RAM and file size usage when creating large scene with repeated elements?

Sorry if this question is naive or obvious, but I’m thinking of creating my first large scene with lots of repeated elements like grass, leaves, clouds etc and I’m unsure of the best way to keep file size and RAM usage to a minimum.

For the repeated elements, am I correct in thinking that (from a RAM and file size point of view):

  1. If they require detailed painting, using a UV on a low poly mesh will almost always be better than vertex painting on a higher poly mesh. However if only very basic (or uniform) colouring is required then vertex painting on very low poly mesh might be slightly better?
  2. There is no real difference for RAM or file size between cloning and instancing?

Apart from keeping the poly count of each repeated element as low as possible and using UV’s if any detailed color is needed, are there any other techniques that can help?

Instancing doesn’t impact memory, the difference is big.
It only impact runtime performance (mostly rendering).

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