One of the features I love in XFCE is to use the desktop to hold minimized applications. I use shortcuts or dmenu to launch my applications, so the launchers on desktop are waste of a feature. This, along with the right-click menu and conky has helped me avoid the panels altogether. One observation, that is known but easily forgotten, is that now I have a lot more free RAM than I had with the panel plugins loaded. After using this for last couple of months or so, I find this configuration a lot cleaner and efficient than the one with panels.
Updated: On Alcides’ request, here is a screenshot with icons for minimized applications. But being clean, there really isn’t much to see 🙂