Just one thing. You don't have to sort what's around it or find a place to put what's around it, just find one thing in the piles that you can throw out and put it in a trashcan.
Then repeat. And repeat, and repeat, picking the unneeded stuff out of the piles. Only when it's hard to find more things to throw out is it necessary to go on to another step.
A slightly more organized version of this is to get a bunch of boxes and go through the piles doing just Trash? or Not Trash? Trash goes in the trashcan, Not Trash goes in the box(es), and again you don't worry about any details beyond that until later.
Edited to add: Not Trash doesn't mean, "I have made a hard and considered decision that I'm keeping this forever and ever", it just means, "In the half-second between picking this up and swinging around toward the trashcan and box, I haven't yet decided to put it in Trash, so I'll put it in Not Trash for now."
Edited again to add: I focus on the "Trash?" decision because I think that that is the single most important decision for cleaning. If it's not uppermost in your mind it can be easy to get sucked into sorting into piles of hair accessories and seed catalogs and hotel soaps and credit card solicitations, only to realize that ninety percent of what you just sorted was trash in the first place, and didn't need sorting. (OK, you might shred the credit card solicitations, but they're still trash.)