If you want to actually CROP your artwork in a sensible and efficient way, then do it in FreeHand. Or perhaps one of the other, lesser vector programs. All of them have a straightforward crop operation. Illustrator doesn't.
You are left with convolutions like the scissors tool (excruciatingly tedious when the art is complex), the Divide pathfinder (multiple drawing and deleting steps that won't work on open paths);, the Divide Objects Below command (multiple drawing and deleting steps that won't work on open paths), the Eraser tool (with its ever-present danger of imprecise cuts that disfigure surviving artwork); and masking, which doesn't crop but merely hides the artwork beyond your artboard.
I wish the news was more encouraging.
This is the one like FreeHand feature I would go for as is in FH.
It really is time for this feature to be integrated into Illustrator.
Way to over due.