There are different types of “collectors” in the world. . .and in all honesty, I am using that term so loosely I hope not to offend actual collectors.

I’m specifically referring to two types: hoarders, and pack rats.

There is a difference, at least in my mind.

The hoarders are those that collect just to have, or to conquer some silly need.  These are the people who you hear about on those coupon shows.  . . the ones that have 20 bottles of ketchup in their basement, and wouldn’t bat an eye at buying more as long as they get some mega deal.

Not that they will ever use that insane amount of ketchup.  But, by golly they got it for next to free!

Then there are the pack rats.  This is the variety that I am intimately familiar with, as they live in my household.  And, being so familiar with this species, I can tell you that they fall into two categories.

My husband is a huge pack rat.  He comes by it honestly, as his entire family seems to suffer from the syndrome.  They will honestly build other structures in order to place their crap memorable items.  (They call these structures “garages” but they rarely hold vehicles, and it is more along the lines of a very cluttered museum warehouse.)

Now, my husband (and, I believe, his family) are all of the more “respected” of the two types of pack rats, for they are the “sentimental pack rats”.

You can identify this variety when you try to toss some nasty, torn, rag away. and they rescue it from the trash can exclaiming, “You can’t throw this away!  This is the sock that I bought in 1993 at the farm show in Middletown, USA because the shoes that I had were rubbing blisters on my feet.”

You see, they have to hold onto their “memories”; and their memories are any tangible thing that has a story behind it.  The problem is EVERYTHING, has a story for them.

Of course, I deeply suspect, that as these people get older and their memories fade, they still tell stories about the things that desperately need to find a home in a landfill.  I, for example, was never at a farm show in Middletown, USA. . .so how did my husband buy socks there?

I have also discovered that my husband will try to hold onto items of mine that I’m trying to toss.  “Oh, but Christine, don’t you remember when. . . “

At which point, I run madly from the house, and gas the item in question and light it up.  Well, okay, not true.  But, I definitely pull the “it’s mine and I’ll do what I want to with it” trump card.

Then, there are my children, who are the second variety of pack rats.  They are like the carrion rats of the entire pack rat order.  They latch onto the whole “pack” idea, but don’t won’t to mess with the sentimentality of it.  You could also identify them as lazy pack rats.  (Those who are pack rats merely because they don’t want to take time to throw things away.)

There is one more thing about pack rats, regardless of their variety, that I find intriguing.  “Out of sight – out of mind” nearly always applies.


The other day the men of my family were all out for the ENTIRE day.  This is a rare event for me (not even annual), so I took full advantage of it.

Yes, indeedy, over 4 garbage bags worth of stuff disappeared from a single room in our house.

And, no one has yet to notice.


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