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Title:
ADJUSTABLE STORAGE BIN
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Adjustable storage bins include a bin portion, at least one long wall, and at least one short wall. The adjustable storage bins can include a plurality of long walls and a plurality of short walls. The long and short walls are each removably connected within the adjustable storage bin. At least one short wall or at least one long wall, or both, can be telescoping walls. Telescoping walls have a length that can be adjusted, such as by being increased or decreased. Accordingly, the long walls and short walls can be arranged and rearranged within the interior of the adjustable storage bins to provide interior compartments having a variety of alternative sizes and shapes.


Inventors:
Dominique, Traci (Orland Park, IL, US)
Application Number:
12/190255
Publication Date:
02/19/2009
Filing Date:
08/12/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B88/00
View Patent Images:
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Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PATENT GROUP;C/O DLA PIPER US LLP (203 N. LASALLE ST., SUITE 1900, CHICAGO, IL, 60601, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An adjustable storage bin comprising: a bin portion having a bottom and a side wall, the bottom and the side wall defining an interior of the bin portion; a long wall within the interior of the bin portion and connected to the side wall; and a telescoping short wall within the interior of the bin portion and connected to the long wall, the short wall including a first portion and a second portion, wherein: the first portion includes a connection end having a tab, and a clip end having a clip; and the second portion includes a connection end having a collar that receives the tab of the first portion, and a clip end having a clip.

2. The adjustable storage bin of claim 1, wherein the side wall includes a front side, a rear side opposite the front side, a first side that extends from the front side to the rear side, and a second side opposite the first side that extends from the front side to the rear side.

3. The adjustable storage bin of claim 2, wherein the long wall is connected to the front side and the rear side of the side wall, or to the first side and the second side of the side wall.

4. The adjustable storage bin of claim 1, wherein the long wall includes a first end and a second end, each end of the long wall having a clip configured to connect to a top edge of the side wall.

5. The adjustable storage bin of claim 1, wherein the collar of the second portion of the telescoping wall slidably receives the tab of the first portion of the telescoping wall.

6. The adjustable storage bin of claim 1, wherein the telescoping wall has a length that is increased by pulling the clip end of the first portion away from the clip end of the second portion, and is decreased by pushing the clip end of the first portion towards the clip end of the second portion.

7. The adjustable storage bin of claim 1, wherein the collar of the second portion includes a flap that engages the tab of the of the first portion.

8. The adjustable storage bin of claim 1, wherein the clip of the first portion and the clip of the second portion each include a hook, the hook being configured to connect to a top edge of a long wall or to a top edge of the side wall.

9. The adjustable storage bin of claim 1, wherein the adjustable storage bin includes a plurality of long walls and a plurality of telescoping walls.

10. An adjustable storage bin comprising: a bin portion having a bottom and a side wall, the bottom and the side wall defining an interior of the bin portion; a telescoping long wall within the interior of the bin portion and connected to the side wall, the telescoping long wall including a first portion and a second portion, wherein: the first portion includes a connection end having a tab, and a clip end having a clip; and the second portion includes a connection end having a collar that receives the tab of the first portion, and a clip end having a clip; and a short wall within the interior of the bin portion and connected to the long wall.

11. The adjustable storage bin of claim 10, wherein the at least one side wall includes a front side, a rear side opposite the front side, a first side that extends from the front side to the rear side, and a second side opposite the first side that extends from the front side to the rear side.

12. The adjustable storage bin of claim 11, wherein the long wall is connected to the front side and the rear side of the side wall, or to the first side and the second side of the side wall.

13. The adjustable storage bin of claim 10, wherein the short wall includes a first end and a second end, each end of the short wall having a clip configured to connect to a top edge of the side wall or to a top edge of a long wall.

14. The adjustable storage bin of claim 10, wherein the collar of the second portion of the telescoping wall slidably receives the tab of the first portion of the telescoping wall.

15. The adjustable storage bin of claim 10, wherein the telescoping long wall has a length that is increased by pulling the clip end of the first portion away from the clip end of the second portion, and is decreased by pushing the clip end of the first portion towards the clip end of the second portion.

16. The adjustable storage bin of claim 10, wherein the collar of the second portion includes a flap that engages the tab of the of the first portion.

17. The adjustable storage bin of claim 10, wherein the clip of the first portion and the clip of the second portion, each include a hook, the hook being configured to connect to a top edge of the side wall.

18. The adjustable storage bin of claim 10, wherein the adjustable storage bin includes a plurality of telescoping long walls and a plurality of short walls.

19. An adjustable storage bin comprising: a bin portion having a bottom and a side wall, the bottom and the side wall defining an interior of the bin portion; a telescoping long wall within the interior of the bin portion and connected to the side wall, the telescoping long wall including a first portion and a second portion, wherein: the first portion includes a connection end having a tab, and a clip end having a clip; and the second portion includes a connection end having a collar that receives the tab of the first portion, and a clip end having a clip; and a telescoping short wall within the interior of the bin portion and connected to the telescoping long wall, the telescoping short wall including a first portion and a second portion, wherein: the first portion includes a connection end having a tab, and a clip end having a clip; and the second portion includes a connection end having a collar that receives the tab of the first portion, and a clip end having a clip.

20. The adjustable storage bin of claim 19, wherein the adjustable storage bin includes a plurality of telescoping long walls and a plurality of telescoping short walls.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 60/964,617, filed on Aug. 13, 2007, currently pending, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

The invention relates generally to storage devices, and more particularly relates to storage bins having multiple compartments.

Storage bins having multiple compartments can he utilized to organize and store small objects. Such storage bins can be placed on any suitable surface, such as on counters, tables, or shelves. Such storage bins can also be placed within drawers to organize the items contained therein.

BRIEF SUMMARY

The invention relates generally to storage devices and, more specifically, to a storage bin having adjustable interior walls so that multiple storage compartment configurations may be formed.

In one aspect, an adjustable storage bin is provided that includes a bin portion, a long wall, and a telescoping short wall. The bin portion has a bottom and a side wall, where the bottom and the side wall define an interior of the bin portion. The long wall is located within the interior of the bin portion and is connected to the side wall. The telescoping short wall is located within the interior of the bin portion and is connected to the long wall. The telescoping short wall includes a first portion and a second portion. The first portion of the telescoping short wall includes a connection end having a tab, and a clip end having a clip. The second portion of the telescoping short wall includes a connection end having a collar that receives the tab of the first portion, and a clip end having a clip. The bin preferably includes a plurality of long walls and a plurality of telescoping short walls.

In a second aspect, an adjustable storage bin is provided that includes a bin portion, a telescoping long wall, and a short wall. The bin portion has a bottom and a side wall, and the bottom and the side wall define an interior of the bin portion. The telescoping long wall is located within the interior of the bin portion and is connected to the side wall. The telescoping long wall includes a first portion and a second portion. The first portion of the telescoping long wall includes a connection end having a tab, and a clip end having a clip. The second portion of the telescoping long wall includes a connection end having a collar that receives the tab of the first portion, and a clip end having a clip. The short wall is located within the interior of the bin portion and is connected to the long-wall. The bin preferably includes a plurality of telescoping long walls and a plurality of short walls.

In as third aspect, an adjustable storage bin is provided that includes a bin portion, a telescoping long wall, and a telescoping short wall. The telescoping long wall is located within the interior of the bin portion and is connected to the side wall. The telescoping short wall is located within the interior of the bin portion and is connected to the long wall. The telescoping long wall and the telescoping short wall each include a first portion and a second portion. The first portion includes a connection end having a tab, and a clip end having a clip. The second portion includes a connection end having a collar that receives the tab of the first portion, and a clip end having a clip. The bin preferably includes a plurality of telescoping long walls and a plurality of telescoping short walls.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

Specific examples have been chosen for purposes of illustration and description, and are shown in the accompanying drawings, forming a pan of the specification. In the drawings, like numerals depict like parts.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an embodiment of an adjustable storage bin of the present invention in an assembled configuration.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the bin portion of the adjustable storage bin of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an adjustable small wall of the adjustable storage bin of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4A is a perspective view of the first portion of the small wall of FIG. 3.

FIG. 4B is a side elevational view of the first portion of FIG. 4A.

FIG. 5A is a perspective view of the second portion of the small wall of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5B is a side elevational view of the second portion of FIG. 5A.

FIG. 6A is a perspective view of a large wall of the adjustable bin of FIG. 1.

FIG. 6B is side elevational view of the large wall of FIG. 6A.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a second embodiment of an adjustable storage bin of the present invention in an assembled configuration.

FIG. 8 is a perspective, view of a third embodiment of an adjustable storage bin of the present invention in an assembled configuration.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Adjustable storage bins disclosed herein include a bin portion, at least one long wall, and at least one short wall. The adjustable storage bins can have one long wall, or a plurality of long walls. For example, a storage bin can have at least two long walls, such as two, three, or more than three long walls. A storage bin can also have one short wall, or a plurality of short walls. For example, a storage bin can have at least two short walls, such as two, three, or more than three short walls. Preferably, an adjustable storage bin includes a plurality of long walls and a plurality of short walls. The long and short walls are each removably connected within the adjustable storage bin. Additionally, at least, one short wall or at least one long wall or both, can be telescoping walls. Telescoping walls have a length that can be adjusted, such as a length that can be increased or decreased. Accordingly, the long walls and short walls can be arranged and rearranged within the interior of the adjustable storage bins to provide interior compartments having a variety of alternative sizes and shapes.

One example of an adjustable storage bin in an assembled configuration is indicated at 10 in FIG. 1. As illustrated in FIG. 1, the adjustable storage bin includes a bin portion 14, two long walls 16a and 16b, and four telescoping short walls 18a-18d. As shown in FIG. 1, the long walls 16a and 16d have a fixed length. The long walls 16a and 16b, and the telescoping short walls 18a-18d are positioned within the interior of bin portion 14 so that a plurality of interior compartments are formed.

Adjustable storage bin 10, and the individual components thereof, can be made from any suitable material. For example, each component of the adjustable storage bin 10 can be constructed from steel mesh and steel wire. Each component can also have any suitable coating, such as, for example, an epoxy coating. As shown in FIG. 1, each component of the adjustable storage bin 10, including the bin portion 14, each long wall 16a and 16b, and each short wall 18a-18d, preferably has a top edge and a lower edge formed from steel wire, and has steel mesh extending between the upper and lower edges of the component. Alternatively, it is to be understood that the components of the adjustable storage bin can be constructed from a variety of alternative materials including, but not limited to plastic, wood and other metals.

As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the bin portion 14 has a bottom 22 and a side wall 20. The bottom and the side wall together define an interior 12 of the bin portion 14. The side wall 20 preferably includes a front side 20a, a rear side 20c opposite the front side, a first side 20b that extends from the front side to the rear side, and a second side 20c opposite the first side that extends from the front side to the rear side. The side wall 20 can nave a top edge and a lower edge, and the bottom 22 can be connected to the lower edge of the side wall 20. The side wall can be formed from a single piece or from multiple pieces.

Bin portion 14 is preferably square, but can have any suitable shape, including for example, a rectangle, a circle, or an oval. Bin portion 14 can also have any suitable dimensions, such as length, width, and height. For example, the bin portion 14 can have a length from about 6 inches to about 24 inches, or greater than 24 inches. Similarly, the bin portion 14 can have a width from about 6 inches to about 24 inches, or greater than 24 inches. Preferably the length and width of the bin portion 14 are each from about 8 inches to about 20 inches, and more preferably from about 10 inches to about 16 inches. Bin portion 14 can have a height from about 1 inch to about 12 inches, or greater than 12 inches. Preferably, bin portion 14 has a height from about 3 inches to about 5 inches.

FIG. 1 illustrates short walls 18a-18d as telescoping short walls. Alternatively, one or more of the short walls can have a fixed length, such as the structure described below with respect to long walls 16a and 16d. As illustrated in FIG. 1, telescoping short walls 18a-18d are located within the interior 12 of the bin portion 14. Telescoping short walls are preferably configures such that they can connect to the top edge of a long wall, the top edge of the side wall, or to the top edge of another short wall. As shown in FIG. 1, telescoping short wall 18a is connected to the long wall 16a at one end and to the side wall 20 at the opposite end, telescoping short wall 18b is connected to the long wall 16a at one end and to the long wall 16b at the opposite end, and telescoping short walls 18c and 18d are connected to the long wall 16b at one end and to the side wall 20 at the opposite end.

FIGS. 3 through 5B illustrate telescoping short wall 18a. Telescoping short walls 18b through 18d preferably have a structure that is substantially the same as that of telescoping short wall 18a. Telescoping short wall 18a has a first portion 26 and a second portion 28. The first portion 26 and the second portion 28 are connected in a telescoping manner. The first portion 26 and the second portion 28 can be configured such that the first portion is permanently retained by the second portion 28, or such that the first portion 26 can be removed or separated from the second portion 28.

The first portion 26 of the telescoping short wall includes a wall portion, a connection end having a tab 32, and a clip end having a clip 34. Tab 32 preferably has a height that is less than the height of the wall portion of the first portion 26. The second portion 28 of the telescoping short wall includes a wall portion, a connection end having a collar 48, and a clip end having a clip 44. Collar 48 is configured to receive the tab 32 of the first portion 26. The clip 34 of the first portion 26 and the clip 44 of the second portion 28 each include a hook, the hook being configured to connect to the top edge of a long wall, the top edge of a short wall, or the to edge of the side wall 20. As illustrated in FIG. 3, clip 34 has hook 36, and clip 44 has hook 46. Hooks 44 and 46 are inverted hooks, which curve away from the first and second portions 26 and 28, respectively, of the short telescoping wall. Hooks 44 and 46 can be connected to, and preferably snap onto, the top edge of a long wall, a short wall, or of the sidewall 20.

In the illustrated example, the collar 48 is attached to one side of the connection end of the second portion 28. Preferably, the collar 48 of the second portion 28 slidably receives the tab 32 of the first portion 26. Collar 48 has a first side connected to the top edge of the second portion 28, a second side connected to the lower edge of the second portion 28, and a third side that extends from the first side to the second side. The three sides of collar 48 form an opening sized to receive the tab portion 32 of the first portion 26. Preferably, the opening is generally rectangular in shape. As illustrated in. FIGS. 3 and 5A and 5B, the collar 48 has a flap 52 that is bent inwards to contact a side of the tab 32. Preferably, flap 52 is in frictional contact with the tab 32, such that the desired length of the telescoping short wall 18a can be maintained after selection in the absence of manual force exerted to adjust the length of the telescoping short wall 18a. Alternatively, or additionally, flap 52 can be a stop that retains first portion 26 so that the first portion 26 does not disconnect from the second portion 28.

The telescoping short wall 18a has a length that can be increased by pulling the clip end of the first portion away from the clip end of the second portion, and can be decreased by pushing the clip end of the first portion towards the clip end of the second portion. Accordingly, telescoping short wall 18a, as well as any other telescoping short walls, may be adjusted in terms of length and then positioned so as to extend between the sidewall 20 and a long wall, such as long wall 16a or 16b, between two long walls, between a long wall and a short wall, or between two short walls. In this manner, a variety of interior storage compartments having a length or width smaller than the interior 12 of the bin portion 14 can be created.

Telescoping short walls, such as telescoping short walls 18a-18d of FIG. 1 are preferably generally rectangular in shape, although they can have any other suitable shape. Telescoping short walls can also have any suitable dimensions, such as maximum length, minimum length, width, and height that can be received within the interior of the bin portion 14. The maximum length of a telescoping short wall is the greatest length that can be achieved with the first portion 26 being received by the second portion 28. Telescoping short walls preferably have a maximum length from about 3 inches to about 12 inches, or greater than 12 inches. Preferably a telescoping short wall has a maximum length from about 4 inches, to about 10 inches, and more preferably from about 5 inches to about 8 inches. The minimum length of a telescoping short wall is the smallest length that the wall can achieve, and can be when the tip of the connection end of the first portion 26 abuts the clip at the clip end of the second portion 28. Telescoping short walls preferably have a minimum length from about 1.5 inches to about 4 inches, or greater than 4 inches. Preferably a telescoping short wall has a minimum length from about 2 inches to about 5 inches, and more preferably from about 3 inches to about 5 inches. The clip portions of a telescoping short wall preferably have a width that is greater than the width of the wall portions. For example, the wall portion of a first or second portion of a telescoping short wall preferably has a width from about 0.10 inches to about 1 inch, more preferably from about 0.15 inches to about 0.25 inches. The clip portion preferably has a width from about 0.5 inches to about 2 inches, more preferably from about 0.75 inches to about 1 inch. Clip portions of a telescoping short wall preferably have a height that is substantially equal to the height of the bin portion 14, or is less than the height of the bin portion 14. Accordingly, a clip portion of a telescoping short, wall can have a height from about 1 inch to about 12 inches, or greater than 12 inches, and preferably has a height from about 3 inches to about 5 inches. The wall portions of a telescoping short wall preferably have a height that is substantially equal to the clip portions of the telescoping short wall, or is less than the height of the clip portions of the telescoping short wall.

FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate long wall 16a of FIG. 1, which has a fixed length. Long wall 16a includes a wall portion having a first end and a second end, each end of the long wall having a clip portion configured to connect to a top edge of the side wall. For example, first clip portion 54 on the first end of long wall 16a has a hook 64, and second clip portion 56 on the second end of long wall 16a has a hook 66. Hooks 64 and 66 are inverted hooks, which curve away front the first and second ends, respectively, of the long wall 16a. Hooks 64 and 66 are each configured to receive the top edge of the side wall 20, and are preferably configured to snap onto the top edge of side wall 20. Accordingly, long wall 16a can be placed within the interior 12 of the bin portion 14, and can be connected to the side wall 20 at a location chosen by a user. Preferably, the long wall 16a can be connected to the front side 20a and the rear side 20c of the side wall 20, or to the first side 20b and the second side 20c of the side wall 20. Preferably, long wall 16d, and any other long walls utilized in the adjustable storage bin, can have a structure that is substantially the same as the structure of long wall 16a. Alternatively, long wall 16a, long wall 16d, or any other long wall utilized in the adjustable storage bin, can have a telescoping structure in accordance with the description provided above for the telescoping short walls of adjustable storage bin 10.

Long walls, such as long walls 16a and 16d are preferably generally rectangular in shape, although they can have any other suitable shape. Long walls can also have any suitable dimensions, such as length, width, and height that can be received within the interior of the bin portion 14. Long walls 16a and 16d preferably have a length that extends from one side of the side wall 20 to an opposite side thereof. Accordingly, a long wall can have a length from about 6 inches to about 24 inches, or greater than 24 inches. Preferably the long wall has a length from about 8 inches to about 20 inches, and more preferably from about 10 inches to about 16 inches. The clip portions of a long wall preferably have a width that is greater than the width of the wall portion. For example, the wall portion of a long wall preferably has a width from about 0.10 inches to about 1 inch, more preferably from about 0.15 inches to about 0.25 inches. The clip portion preferably has a width from about 0.5 inches to about 2 inches, more preferably from about 0.75 inches to about 1 inch. The clip portions of a long wall preferably have a height that is substantially equal to the height of the bin portion 14, or is less than the height of the bin portion 14. Accordingly, the clip portions of a long wall can have a height from about 1 inch to about 12 inches, or greater than 12 inches. Preferably, the clip portions of a long wall have a height from about 3 inches to about 5 inches. The wall portion of a long wall preferably has a height that is substantially equal to the clip portions of the long wall, or is less than the height of the clip portions of the long wall.

As discussed above, long walls and short walls for use in adjustable storage bins can have a fixed length, or can be telescoping walls. As illustrated in FIGS. 1-6B, the long walls 16a and 16d have a fixed length and the short walls 18a through 18d are telescoping walls. FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate alternative examples of adjustable storage bins.

FIG. 7 illustrates adjustable storage bin 100, which includes a bin portion 102 having a bottom 104 and a side wall 106. The bottom 104 and the side wall 106 define an interior 108 of the bin portion 102. The bin 100 also includes one or at least two telescoping long walls, and one or at least two short walls. The bin 100 preferably includes a plurality of telescoping long walls and a plurality of short walls. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the bin 100 has two telescoping long walls 110a and 110b, and four short walls 112a-d. Short walls 112a-d have a fixed length. The telescoping long walls 110a and 110b are located within the interior 108 of the bin portion 102, and are connected to the side wall 106. The side wall 106 can be configured in the same manner as the side wall 20 of bin 10. The telescoping long walls 110a and 110b can have a telescoping structure in accordance with the telescoping short walls 18a-d of bin 10, but preferably have dimensions in accordance with the dimensions of long wall 16a. For example, telescoping long walls 110a and 110b can have a first portion and a second portion. The first portion of the telescoping long wall can include a wall portion, a connection end having a tab, and a clip end having a clip. The second portion of the telescoping long wall can include a wall portion, a connection end having a collar that receives the tab of the first portion, and a clip end having a clip. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the short walls 112a-d are located within the interior 108 of the bin portion 102, and are connected to at least one of the long walls.

FIG. 8 illustrates adjustable storage bin 200, which includes a bin portion 202 having a bottom 204 and a side wall 206. The bottom 204 and the side wall 206 define an interior 208 of the bin portion 202. The bin 200 also includes one or at least two telescoping long walls, and one or at least two telescoping short walls. The bin 200 preferably includes a plurality of telescoping long walls and a plurality of telescoping short walls. As illustrated, the bin 209 has two telescoping long walls 210a and 210b, and four telescoping short walls 212a-d. The telescoping long walls 210a and 210b are located within the interior 208 of the bin portion 202, and are connected to the side wall 206. The side wall 206 can be configured in the same manner as the side wall 20 of bin 10. The telescoping short walls can have a telescoping structure in accordance with the telescoping short walls 18a-d of bin 10. The telescoping long walls 210a and 210b can also have a telescoping structure in accordance with the telescoping short walls 18a-d of bin 10, but preferably have dimensions in accordance with the dimensions of long wall 16a. For example, each telescoping long wall and each telescoping short wall can include a first portion and a second portion. The first portion can include a wall portion, a connection end having a tab, and a clip end having a clip. The second portion can include a wall portion, a connection end having a collar that receives the tab of the first portion, and a clip end having a clip.

From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that although specific examples have been described herein for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit or scope of this disclosure. For example, an adjustable storage bin can include one or more long walls that have a fixed length and one or more long walls that are telescoping walls. Additionally, an adjustable storage bin can include one or more short walls that have a fixed length and one or more short walls that are telescoping walls. It is therefore intended that the foregoing detailed description be regarded as illustrative rather than limiting, and that it be understood that it is the following claims, including all equivalents, that are intended to particularly point out and distinctly claim the claimed subject matter.