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I want to start editing the metadata on a new file but can't clear the existing one. Isn't there a simple to way to just save and clear the screen for the next file?

You simply load the next file (e.g. with drag&drop form the explroer). That replaces the presently loaded file(s) with the new one(s).

See also here:

Mp3tag doesn't work this way. You always see the metadata content of the select file(s).
If you load 3 new files, the tag panel on the left side is "empty", because you don't have yet selected a file. As soon as you select one or more files, you see the content on the left side.

If you want to clear your list of files, select them all and press DEL. Don't worry, only the list will be cleared, not the files itself deleted. If you press F5 the previously loaded files appear on the list again. Again the tag panel is empty until you select one or more file(s).

Thank you both. I was over-thinking it.