Oldie, but a goodie from Shawn Blanc:
As a side note, after eighteen months with Leopard’s default download folder, I’m now back to downloads being saved right on the desktop. The intention of the downloads folder was that all your downloads would be in one spot, and that they wouldn’t clutter your desktop. But I found using the download folder meant the files were always an additional click away, and then after being used never got dealt with.
I’ve been using the downloads folder as my default for the longest time, if only because it’s the default for most applications. The extra click isn’t the issue, it’s the amount of clutter it gathers. Managing my downloads folder is always the furtherest thing from my mind, making it the one folder on my computer that has a relentless appetite and disregard for hard disk space.
Put Blanc’s tip to the test. By simply clearing out your desktop at the end of the day (which I already do myself regularly), you’ll save yourself a boatload of work later on. Better yet, you might end up dealing with those downloads immediately.