If you don’t want to deal with manually hiding and showing the desktop icons, showing hidden files, accessing the user library directory, and forcibly emptying the Trash, grab DesktopUtility for your menu bar. It’s a free and simple app that offers those four useful features directly in the menu bar, preventing you from using any command line tweaks or key combos to get these functions.
The app runs in 10.6 too but it’s far more useful in 10.7 because of the new standard of hiding the ~/Library folder. I’m also getting a surprising amount of use out of quickly seeing hidden files, something that I don’t want enabled all the time.
The main problem with apps like this is the menubar clutter that can quickly form. Twitter, iStats, iChat, Flux, DoublePane, Caffeine, Battery, WiFi, Time, Spotlight, and now DesktopUtility, my menu bar is getting crowded. Clutter or not I like this one so it will probably stay put, making this a nice find from Whitson Gordon of LifeHacker.