I decided to talk about the difference between PACK RAT and HOARDER today because so many people are looking at A&E's reality show and labeling themselves "HOARDER". I ask, are you a PACK RAT or a HOARDER?
There is a big difference between a PACK RAT and a HOARDER. Many more people are PACK RAT than HOARDER. The biggest difference is that PACKRAT have an emotional attachment to considerably less items than a HOARDER. PACK RAT do not collect for the same reason and tend to have favorite items they collect. Also, they maybe already very organized. For example, the person who goes out and purchases ten packages of toilet paper because it's on sale with only two people in the home is a pack rat. They will put the paper away and know where it is and use it. A HOARDER will purchase the paper and go out and purchase ten more packs because they do not remember purchasing it and more importantly can't find it in all the stuff they have. A HOARDER will not give any of the toilet paper away because giving it away will mean losing a thing that fills up a hole, a hole that represents a loss.
PACK RAT typically do not require counseling but a HOARDER will. A HOARDER must address the loss they fill by purchasing and keeping things. Having a lot of stuff does not make you a HOARDER but it can at the very least make you a PACK RAT. A PACK RAT probably only needs an Organizer. A HOARDER will require a counselor in conjunction with a Professional Organizer. Most times counseling must begin before the organizing process. Counseling will address the issues which drive one to HOARD and reinforce the behavior modification required to successfully address HOARDING.