I may be trying to make myself feel better here, but I've always concluded there to be a considerable difference between a hoarder and a pack rat.
When I think of a hoarder I immediately think of a man my grandfather knew who had absolutely everything. Everything ever! He had acres of land and it was full of junk. He had four or five horse trailers, eight porta-potties, piles of concrete brick, red brick, white brick, boxes of tools, many doghouses, canoes, motor boats, lawn furniture, you name it, it was in his yard. I only went into the house once, but you could barely open the door. I can't even begin to list what I saw, but it was stacked up against the walls at chest height. That would be every wall, with just enough room to maneuver through. There was a flight of stairs just beyond the front door and I'm not sure they could be used at all. They were storage. It was an incredible sight. One that I saw at a very young age and will never forget it. It's just like the deal you see if you watch the Hoarders show on television. It's an eye opener. I wouldn't particularly recommend the show, as it's a bit disturbing, but if you've never seen a hoarder...it might make you feel better about your house work.
When I think of a pack rat, I think of one who likes to keep drawers, boxes, closet space of things they don't necessarily need, at that moment. Small silly things, not preferred or duplicate presents that could in turn be given to someone else, tools, scrap paper, old cell phones or chargers, countless things that you should probably give away or toss in the garbage. But you know, as soon as you throw it away, you'll need it!
I am a pack rat. I don't have the compulsion of a hoarder, thank goodness--unless we count books. We'll pretend we're not counting books.
Today I was actually grateful for being a pack rat. My sister's phone broke. She's one of those animated, and sometimes angry, chatters. If someone says something that makes her angry, she just might throw her phone. Needless to say, her phones don't last very long normally. So, couple of days ago, her phone bit the dust. The bad part is she's expecting calls on a job prospect. Fortunately for her, I remembered seeing an old phone in a drawer in my office (Yeah, who knows what all's in there!) and I fished it out for her. It was from my freshman year of college, a real dinosaur phone, that has a fraction of the fun things her blackberry did, but it worked!
Pack Rat: Here I come to save the day!