Do you use your desktop as a dumping ground for files, and pretty much ignore your actual /home folder, which is where you should store things? If so, you might be interested in this tweak, which effectively makes Ubuntu use your /home folder for the desktop, instead of the actual /home/username/Desktop folder. Anything saved to the desktop, such as files/folders dropped there, will be placed in your /home folder. Additionally, anything in your /home folder will appear on the desktop.
To give this a try, start gconf-editor and navigate to /apps/nautilus/preferences and put a check alongside desktop_is_home_dir. Then log out and back in again.
Remember that the contents of your desktop haven't vanished. They're still in the Desktop folder in your /home folder.
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