This little tutorial will explain how to maintain a clean desktop and at the same time have quick access to your data. It makes use of Compiz widget layer and a lightweight File Manager by creating a folder to store all your Desktop icons/files and make it into a widget where you can access it easily.
The lightweight file manager that I use is Thunar. It will work too if you use Rox-Filer or PCManFM. I avoided using Nautilus as it is the default file manager in Gnome and I don’t want it to mess up my system.