Star-up disk Full; cannot start my 2008 iMac w/ 500 GB hard drive

Kept erasing empty files from my early 2008 Intel iMac(with 500 GB hard drive).  Kept getitng message 'Strt-up disk almost full.'
Used Hard drive as start-up disk. Kept getting a file labeled (approx.) EFileS1...(didn't write it down). Tried once to totally erase
this file: Removed Garage Band by moving to trash and securely erasing; and other files( 1-3 Mb at most. Now, get message "Start-up disk Full" and I can't
log onwhen I enter name and PW, I get the screen saver; I don't get the dock or anything else. I tried to use a external hard drive, and I also tried using an external CD/DVD player (integrated one no longer works) to reload SnowLeopard (OS 10.6) with no response (I had upgraded to OS 10.6.8).
I'm now using a Nov 2008 MacBook (burned out screen with external monitor) to write this email).
I'm going to buy 2014 MacBook Pro 15in w/ retina display as my sole computer, but my iMac hard drive has documents I'd like to save-Then I plan to totally
erase its HD before discarding/donating.
All suggestions and help will be appreciated.
Snboshu

If you can get the 2008 started move large libraries such as  your iPhoto, iMovie and iTunes libraries to an External HD. Once you have verified the libraries have been successfully moved then Trash the ones on the internal HD and empty the Trash. Once these operations have been done then use:
iPhoto: How to move the Library to an EHD
iMovie: How to move the Library to an EHD
iTunes: How to move the library to an EHD

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