You've probably had (or have) a computer desktop littered with icons. While some people like to organize this into a semblance of order, others tend to let all of these icons just crop up on their desktops and get rid of them only when there's no more any space left for new ones. We've been drifting closer and closer towards a digital workspace without icons, and here's how we've done it in both OS X and Windows 7.
1. Application Icons: Some people like to keep their most often used application icons on their desktops (Mac and PC). Don't do it...it's just redundant, a waste of desktop space/increases clutter, and can even slow down the performance of your computer. We find that programs are easier to access through Lion's Launchpad (three finger pinch) or Windows' Start Menu.
In Windows, you can add and remove different toolbars by right-clicking on the the main toolbar and selecting which option you want to add. Programs that are used a lot can be docked this way. The Start Menu will also keep a log of which programs you've been using the most. They tend to be cropped in a list, which can be customized. Using this and the integrated program toolbar takes care of most of our needs.
3. Documents: All of our documents are saved in the Documents folder of OS X or the My Documents library of Windows. Naturally, we have subfolders to keep everything organized. Anything recent that hasn't been addressed is kept in the root folder so that we can find it easily. Avoid littering your desktop with individual documents and put these files in appropriately categorized file folder, just like your real life desk (hopefully).
4. Application Installers: In OS X and Windows, all of our program and app installers go into the download folder. There's no need to keep a lot of them since they get updated so quickly. Once a program has been installed, we tend to delete the installer. If you need them once again, you can find them quickly again on the web.
5. Photos & Videos: We keep all of our photos neatly organized in My Photos folders on the Mac and the PC. Each shoot will get its own folder. We like to separate the photos that we've taken ourselves and the images that we collect in different folders. As for videos, we also have dedicated folders for those, including complete filing trees so that we can find them quickly.
(Images: Jehzlau Concepts, Flickr member Ringey licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member erKURITA licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Josh Bancroft licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Rev Dan Catt licensed for use under Creative Commons)