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Advice for real-life shopaholics

Oh, what a difference eight months make. Back in May, women were showing up at their local multiplex in designer duds, happy to cheer on Carrie Bradshaw & Co. in "Sex and the City." Next week comes its cinematic sister, "Confessions of a Shopaholic," starring Isla Fisher as spendinista Rebecca Bloomwood.

Like "SATC," "Shopaholic" is based on a popular franchise (a book series by Brit chick-lit author Sophie Kinsella). It features plenty of satisfying shopping montages and name-drops like mad (Zac, Gucci, Dior). There's even a manicured, mano-a-mano girl fight (over Pucci boots, duh).

These days, though, it may not be the best time to whoop it up over such excess. Most of us already have plenty of stuff. What we need is someone to tell us what to do with it.

Enter professional organizer Ann Sullivan, who tries to put a positive spin on life in a downturn. "Before, we were focused on the frivolous, the constant acquiring," she says. "Now it's time to sit back and take stock."

That's essentially what Rebecca does in the film, albeit kicking and screaming (and hounded by creditors). And it's what Sullivan tries to teach her clients.

Your options: You can always sell your (good condition) designer items at consignment shops or on eBay, but they might not fetch glorious sums. Sullivan advocates a little "creative recycling." Swapping with friends, regifting old jewelry, donating to a good cause (for scores of resources, check out annsullivan.com).

Here's her advice about what to toss, donate, recycle and, yes, keep. After all, there will always be those special items that - dreary economy or no - you just can't live without. Like, maybe, those crazy pink furry boots Fisher wears ... and the Todd Oldham belt... .

Too many shoes

Strategy Fix, don't nix. Getting shoes resoled is generally less expensive than buying a new pair.

Room for one more Make it the sexy Legroom in Stuart Weitzman's spring line, $425 at stuartweitzman.com.

Too much jewelry

STRATEGY Share the wealth. Tastes change. But those pieces at the back of your jewelry box are still valuable. So why not pass them on to a fave niece or godchild for a special occasion? Sullivan has given old rings to nieces on their eighth-grade graduation.

"People love getting gifts with sentiment and a story behind it," she says. "And you get the pleasure of seeing someone wearing it. "

ROOM FOR ONE MORE Indulge in David Yurman's Cable Collectibles necklaces in 18-karat gold and pavé diamonds, from $675 (for bow or cross) to $950 (peace). At David Yurman, Manhasset and Manhattan; and davidyurman.com.

Too many handbags

STRATEGY Think vertical. Sullivan likes designer Sarah Shaw's brilliantly simple Handy Hold All hook, in vivid prints that mounts to any door. Seven loops hold two to four items each, $30, at simplysarahshaw.com or annsullivan.com.

ROOM FOR ONE MORE It's hard to resist Coach's Spectator Sabrina, in sophisticated color combos and zippery details, $458, at Coach shops in Lake Grove, Huntington Station, Woodbury, Garden City and Manhasset; and coach.com.

Too many coats

STRATEGY Fight the freeze. Furs can be transformed into decadent throws or pillow covers, but cloth coats are best donated, especially this time of year. Contact your local church, Salvation Army (salvationarmy usa.org) or Goodwill store (goodwill.org).

ROOM FOR ONE MORE Check out Betsey Johnson's simple yet scarlet poly- nylon trench, $180, at select Macy's, or call 800-343-0121 to order.

ON THE FLY

Online retailer Bluefly is spreading the "Shopaholic" love, with a chunk of its site devoted to the film. At bluefly.com/shopaholic, stroll a "virtual Madison Avenue" and - big surprise - shop. Plus, catch the trailer, download wallpapers and hear costume designer Pat Field chat about the film's looks. She says Isla Fisher's first purple jacket and boots are from a Tokyo boutique - but which one, Pat? Which one?

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