Title:
Method and Apparatus for Securing a Drawer Organizer in a Drawer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drawer organizer assembly includes an insert, for example a silverware tray, that can be inserted into a drawer, for instance a kitchen drawer. The organizer includes an attachment assembly that prevents the organizer from sliding within the drawer. For instance, a connector can be connected to one of the walls that define the interior of the drawer, and the organizer can be removably attached to the connector.



Inventors:
Burgess, Roddy (Charlotte, NC, US)
Hill, Travis Shane (Monroe, NC, US)
Cunningham, Ian (Huntersville, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/963348
Publication Date:
06/25/2009
Filing Date:
12/21/2007
Assignee:
Rubbermaid Incorporated (Huntersville, NC, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/348.3
International Classes:
A47B88/20; A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRAN, HANH VAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lempia Summerfield Katz LLC (20 South Clark Suite 600, CHICAGO, IL, 60603, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A drawer organizer assembly configured for insertion into a drawer of the type having a drawer base and a drawer wall extending up from the drawer base, wherein the drawer base and the drawer wall at least in part define a drawer interior, the organizer comprising: an insert sized to fit inside the drawer interior, the insert including at least one compartment configured to receive and store items, the insert further defining an engagement wall; and a connector having a drawer interface portion and an insert interface portion, wherein the drawer interface portion is configured for attachment to the drawer wall in the interior of the drawer to secure the connector to the drawer wall, and the insert interface portion is configured for attachment to the engagement wall of the insert.

2. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the insert interface portion comprises a channel configured to connect to the engagement wall

3. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 2, wherein the channel receives a distal end of the engagement wall.

4. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 3, wherein the channel is a downwardly facing channel.

5. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 4, wherein the channel is defined by a bent wall having a distal end that terminates at a height relative to the drawer base that is less than the height of the distal end of the engagement wall relative to the drawer base.

6. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 3, wherein the channel is an upwardly facing channel.

7. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 6, wherein the channel is defined by a bent wall having a distal end that terminates at a height relative to the drawer base that is greater than the height of the distal end of the engagement wall relative to the drawer base.

8. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 3, wherein the distal end of the engagement wall comprises an upper end of the engagement wall.

9. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 3, wherein the distal end comprises a projection extending from the engagement wall.

10. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the engagement wall comprises a front wall of the insert.

11. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the drawer interface portion is adhesively attached to the drawer.

12. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the insert interface portion defines a clip that interlocks with the engagement wall of the insert.

13. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the insert comprises a silverware tray having at least one divider defining a plurality of compartments configured to receive kitchen implements.

14. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 1, wherein the insert interface portion is releasably coupled to the insert.

15. A method for connecting an insert within a drawer of the type having a drawer base and a drawer wall extending up from the base so as to at least partially define a drawer interior, the method comprising the steps of: (A) attaching a connector to the drawer wall such that the connector includes an insert interface portion projecting into the drawer interior; (B) placing an insert into the drawer interior; and (C) connecting the insert to the insert interface portion of the connector.

16. The method as recited in claim 15, wherein the engagement member at least partially defines a channel, and step (B) further comprises inserting a distal end of an engagement wall of the insert into the channel.

17. The method as recited in claim 16, wherein the insert wall is a front insert wall and the drawer wall is a front drawer and the engagement member at least partially defines a channel, and step (C) further comprises raising a rear end of the insert so as to lower the front insert wall, moving the front insert wall into alignment with the channel, and lowering the rear end of the insert to move a portion of the insert wall into the channel.

18. The method as recited in claim 17, wherein step (A) further comprises adhesively attaching the connector to the drawer wall.

19. The method as recited in claim 15, wherein the engagement member at least partially defines an upwardly-facing channel and the insert wall includes a downwardly extending lip, and step (C) further comprises lowering the lip into the channel.

20. The drawer organizer assembly as recited in claim 15, wherein the insert comprises a silverware tray having at least one divider defining a plurality of compartments configured to receive kitchen implements.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Disclosure

The present disclosure is generally directed to drawer organizers, and more particularly to a method and apparatus for securing a drawer organizer in a drawer.

2. Description of Related Art

Drawers, for instance kitchen drawers, can be conveniently located within kitchen counters and provide easily storage space for the storage and retrieval of various kitchen items. Drawers are conveniently located and particularly suitable for smaller items that are used often. Due to the frequency with which kitchen drawer contents are accessed, a high premium is placed on the convenient accessibility of the contents. Furthermore, due the nature of the stored items has, it has become commonplace to include an insert, such as a drawer organizer, into certain kitchen drawers for the organization and storage of various kitchen implements. For instance, in the case of silverware and other common utensils, conventional silverware trays define an interior having a plurality of dividers to define a corresponding plurality of silverware compartments that are sized and configured to store like items.

Conventional trays are typically placed into the drawer and rest on the base of the drawer. Because of the virtually endless variability in drawer sizes, commercially sold drawer organizers that are not custom fit for a given drawer must be sized smaller than the drawer in order to fit inside the drawer. Unfortunately, the resulting gap that exists between the organizer and the drawer walls causes the organizer to tend to slide within the drawer as the drawer is opened and closed. The user can be particularly inconvenienced when, for instance, the drawer slides back in the drawer, requiring that the drawer be more fully opened than is convenient in order to reach the desired utensil. In more extreme cases the user is unable to fully access the silverware tray and its stored contents without first opening the drawer and then sliding the tray forward within the drawer.

Conventional attempts at solving this problem have proven unsuccessful. For instance, one conventional method involves placing rubber feet on the bottom of the organizer to increase the friction between the tray and the base of the drawer. This attempted solution has unfortunately achieved minimal success in reducing but not preventing the organizer from sliding within the drawer. Furthermore, rubber feet increase the height of the organizer, and thus reduce the clearance between the upper surface of the organizer and the drawer opening. Another attempt involves adhesively securing the organizer to the drawer base. Unfortunately, this prevents the organizer from being easily removed from the drawer when, for instance, it is desired to clean or replace the organizer.

What is therefore needed is a method and apparatus for retaining an organizer within a drawer while minimizing the likelihood of the organizer sliding within the drawer.

SUMMARY

In accordance with one aspect of the invention, a drawer organizer assembly is configured for insertion into a drawer of the type having a drawer base and a drawer wall extending up from the drawer base. The drawer base and the drawer wall at least in part define a drawer interior. The organizer assembly includes an insert sized to fit inside the drawer interior. The insert includes at least one compartment configured to receive and store items. The insert further defines an engagement wall. The organizer assembly further includes a connector having a drawer interface portion and an insert interface portion. The drawer interface portion is configured for attachment to the drawer wall in the interior of the drawer to secure the connector to the drawer wall, and the insert interface portion is configured for attachment to the engagement wall of the insert.

The foregoing and other aspects of the invention will appear from the following description. In the description, references are made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which there is shown by way of illustration, and not limitation, a preferred embodiment of the invention. Such embodiment does not necessarily represent the full scope of the invention, however, and reference must therefore be made to the claims for interpreting the scope of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference is hereby made to the following drawing in which like reference numerals correspond to like elements throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an exemplary drawer organizer assembly including a drawer organizer installed in a drawer in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a portion of the drawer organizer assembly illustrated in FIG. 1, showing a connector attached to the drawer organizer;

FIG. 3 is a partial perspective view of the drawer organizer illustrated in FIG. 2 showing the attachment of the connector to the drawer organizer;

FIG. 4 is a sectional side elevation view of the drawer organizer assembly illustrated in FIG. 1 taken along line 4-4;

FIG. 5 is a sectional side elevation view similar to that illustrated in FIG. 4, showing the installation of the drawer organizer assembly;

FIG. 6 is an enlarged sectional side elevation view showing the connector attached to the drawer and the drawer organizer;

FIG. 7 is a partial perspective view illustrating the connector attached to a side wall of the drawer organizer;

FIG. 8 is an enlarged sectional side elevation view showing the connector attached to the drawer and the drawer organizer similar to FIG. 6, but with the drawer organizer assembly constructed in accordance with an alternative embodiment; and

FIG. 9 is an assembly view illustrating the attachment of the connector show in FIG. 8 to the drawer organizer.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DISCLOSURE

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a drawer organizer assembly 20 is provided that is usable in combination with a drawer 22, which can a conventional kitchen drawer or the like configured to be slidably mounted into cabinetry 23, such as a kitchen cabinet. The cabinet 23 defines a drawer opening 25 that slidably receives the drawer 22 in the usual manner. The drawer 22 includes a base 24, a laterally extending front wall 26, an opposing laterally extending rear wall 27 (see FIG. 4) extending up from the base 24, and a pair of opposing longitudinally extending side walls 28 connected between the front and rear walls, respectively. As will become more apparent from the description below, a longitudinal direction from the front toward the rear can be used synonymously herein with a fore-aft direction, and the lateral direction can be used synonymously herein with a side-to-side direction. The drawer 22 thus defines an interior 30 having an open upper end. Accordingly, each drawer wall defines an interior surface facing the interior 30 of the drawer 22, and an opposite facing exterior surface.

A handle 31 can extend from the front wall to slide the drawer 22 into and out of the cabinetry 23 between a closed position whereby the interior 30 of the drawer is contained inside the cabinetry 23 and an open position whereby the front wall 26 is spaced from the cabinetry 23 such that interior 30 of the drawer 22 extends outboard of the cabinetry and is accessible to the user. It should be appreciated that while one exemplary drawer has been illustrated and described herein, it should be appreciated that the drawer organizer assembly 20 of the type described herein can be used with any suitable drawer or storage space configured to receive the organizer assembly 20.

The drawer organizer assembly 20 includes an insert 32 and a connector 34. Unless otherwise specified herein, the organizer assembly 20 and its components can be formed from any suitable plastic, metal, wood, or other structurally suitable material. In some instances, it may be desirable that the material is lightweight, scratch and wear resistant, and non-corrosive. The insert 32 can be in the form of any suitable drawer organizer configured to be inserted into the drawer for the storage of various items, for instance kitchen implements. As illustrated in accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the insert 32 is a silverware tray.

The insert 32 as illustrated has a base 36, a laterally elongate front wall 38 and an opposing laterally elongate rear wall 40 extending up from the longitudinally opposing ends of the base 36. A pair of opposing longitudinally elongate side walls 42 is connected between the front and rear walls 38 and 40, respectively, and extend up from the longitudinally opposing ends of the base 36. The base 36 and walls 38-42 thus define a longitudinally elongate interior 44 having an open upper end. Accordingly, each insert wall defines an interior surface facing the interior 44 of the insert 32, and an opposite facing exterior surface that faces the corresponding drawer wall when the insert 32 is disposed in the drawer interior 30.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, the insert 32 is sized longitudinally and laterally shorter than the drawer interior 30. Accordingly, a gap 60 can be disposed between the rear insert wall 40 and the rear drawer wall 27 when the insert 32 is in its forwardmost position inside the drawer 22. Accordingly, when the drawer 22 closes and opens, forces act on the insert 32 that bias the insert fore and aft within the drawer 22. When the insert 32 is connected to the drawer 22 in accordance with one aspect of the present invention, the insert 32 extends in a rearward direction from the front wall 26 of the drawer 22 toward the rear wall 27, and the connection between the insert 32 and drawer 22 withstands the biasing forces as the drawer 22 is opened and closed.

A plurality of dividers 46 can be disposed in the interior 44 of the insert and define a corresponding plurality of pockets (one representative pocket illustrated at 48), As illustrated, the dividers 46 can extend laterally or longitudinally between the walls 38-42, and can connect between opposing walls or can extend partially across the interior and terminate short of a wall. Accordingly, a portion or all of the resulting pockets 48 can be laterally elongate or longitudinally elongate, and can span the entire distance between opposing walls or span a portion of the distance between opposing walls. The pockets 48 can thus be sized to receive and retain various sized kitchen utensils, such as silverware including forks, knives, spoons, and the like.

One skilled in the art will appreciate that the size, configuration, and nature of the insert 32 can vary without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention. For instance, the insert 32 can be laterally elongate, need not include any dividers, one or more of the walls 38-42, and can be essentially any apparatus that fits inside the interior 30 of the drawer 22 for any suitable purpose. The insert 32 has been illustrated and described herein as a silverware tray in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention for the purposes of clarity and convenience, and because a storage device such as a silverware tray is one example of an insert that benefits from the principles of the present invention, it being appreciated that the insert 32 could be any suitable apparatus configured for insertion and/or storage within the drawer 22.

Referring to FIGS. 3-5, the connector 34 can be configured as a clip that releasably joins the insert 32 to the drawer 22 in such a manner so as to prevent the insert 32 from sliding within the drawer 22 as the drawer opens and closes. Accordingly, the connector 34 has a drawer interface portion 50 configured to attach to the drawer 22, and an insert interface portion 52 configured to attach to the insert 32, thereby securing the insert 32 to the drawer 22. The drawer interface portion 50 can be in the form of a horizontally elongate vertical wall 53 having a front surface facing the corresponding tray wall and an opposing surface facing the insert 32 when the connector 34 is joined to the drawer 22 and insert 32. The front surface of the drawer interface portion 50, for instance, can be attached to the drawer wall via a layer of adhesive 55 that is coated or otherwise adhered onto the front surface. A protective strip (not shown) can be provided on the layer of adhesive in the usual manner and peeled back to expose the adhesive when it is desired to mount the connector 34 onto the drawer 22. As illustrated, the connector 34 is attached to the interior surface of the front wall 26 of the drawer 22 in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.

The insert interface portion 52 of the connector 34 can provide a clip or any alternative structure that facilitates connection to the insert 32. As illustrated in accordance with one aspect of the invention, the insert interface portion 52 includes a bent wall 54 extending up from the upper end of the vertical wall 53. The bent wall 54 curves rearward (e.g., in a direction towards the drawer interior 30) and towards the corresponding insert wall when the insert 32 is disposed inside the drawer 22. The bent wall 54 terminates at a substantially downwardly extending distal end 56.

The bent wall 54 and vertical wall 53 thus combine to define a horizontally elongate downwardly facing channel 58 having a thickness sufficient to receive the upper end of an engagement wall of the insert, for instance the front wall 38 of the insert 32 as illustrated. When the insert base 36 rests fiat against the drawer base 24, the height of the front wall 38 relative to the drawer base 24 is greater than the height of the distal end 56 relative to the drawer base 24, but less than the maximum height of the channel 58 relative to the drawer base.

Accordingly, with continuing reference to FIGS. 4-6, the engagement wall of the insert 32 can be attached to the engagement wall of the insert 22 (the front wall 38 as illustrated) by first raising the wall opposite the engagement wall (e.g., rear wall 40) along the direction of Arrow A above the front wall 38 such that the upper, or distal, end 39 of the front wall 38 is lowered to a position below the distal end 56 of the bent wall 54. The upper end of the front wall 38 is then brought into vertical alignment with the channel 58, and the rear wall 40 is subsequently lowered along the direction of Arrow B to rest on the drawer base 24, at which point the upper end of the front wall 38 is raised into the channel 58. The front wall 38 is thus interlocked between the distal end 56 of the bent wall 54 and the vertical wall 53. In this manner, the insert interface portion 50 can be said to “clip” onto the insert wall 38, thus releasably connecting the insert 22 to the insert interface portion 50.

It should be appreciated that the engagement wall of the insert can be connected to the insert interface portion 50 in any number of suitably alternative manners, and all such alternatives are intended to fall under the scope of the present invention. For instance, the engagement wall can include a projection that is configured to be received in the channel 58 as described above with respect to the upper end 39 of the front wall 38. Furthermore, as described in more detail below, the connector 34 has been described in accordance with one aspect of the present invention, it being appreciated that any apparatus suitable for attaching an insert within a drawer, thereby reducing movement of the insert as the drawer is opened and closed is also contemplated by the present invention. In one aspect of the present invention, the connector 34 can releasably attach the insert 32 to the drawer 22.

During use, as the drawer 22 is opened and closed, the tendency of the resulting forces to bias the insert 32 forward and rearward within the drawer 22 is prevented due to the attachment of the insert 32 to the insert interface portion 50 of the connector 34. In fact, the insert 43 is prevented from undergoing any fore-aft motion greater than the tolerance between the channel and the thickness of the upper end 39 of the front wall 38. Furthermore, depending on the amount of clearance between the channel 58 and the upper end 39 of the front wall 38 (e.g., the tolerance in the connection between the drawer and the insert 32), the insert 32 may move slightly but be substantially retained in position such that the user need not manually move the insert 32 to a position that allows the user to access the tray interior because the insert 32 moved substantially within the drawer 22.

Nevertheless, because the connector 34 prevents the insert 32 from sliding to the rear drawer wall 27, or otherwise sliding an amount that the forces generating during drawer movement would cause the insert 32 to slide if the insert 32 was not connected to the drawer 22, it can be said that the connector 34 prevents the insert 32 from sliding or moving within the drawer 22, and thus operatively couples the insert 32 to the drawer 22. As illustrated and described above, the connector 34 can prevent the insert 32 from moving in a direction that intersects the front and rear drawer walls 26 and 27, respectively.

Advantageously, the connector 34 facilitates easy removal of the insert 32 from the drawer 22. In particular, when one wishes to remove the insert 32 from the drawer for the purposes of cleaning or replacement, the front wall 38 is lowered (for instance, by raising the rear wall 40) such that the upper end of the front wall 38 is lowered to a location below the distal end 56 of the bent wall 54. The insert 32 can then be moved rearward a distance sufficient for the front wall 38 to clear the distal end 56, and the insert 32 can then be easily removed by lifting the insert out of the drawer interior 30.

While the connector 34 has been described above as coupling the insert 32 to the front wall 26 of the drawer, it should be appreciated that the connector 34 can alternatively couple any drawer wall to any wall of the insert 32 for the purposes of preventing movement of the insert 32 within the drawer 22 in the side-to-side direction instead of, or in combination with, fore-aft movement. For instance, as illustrated in FIG. 7, the connector 34 could connect one of the side walls 28 of the drawer 22 to the corresponding side wall 42 of the insert. In this embodiment, the drawer interface portion 52 connects to the interior surface of the side wall 28 in the manner described above, and the insert interface portion 50 engages the upper end of the side wall 42 in the manner described above. Side-to-side movement of the insert 32 within the drawer 22 is thus prevented in the manner described above with respect to for-aft movement.

In addition, one or more locking tabs 62 can be mounted onto the side wall 28, and project out from the exterior surface of the side wall 28 adjacent the connector 34. As illustrated, a locking tab 62 is disposed on either side of the vertical edges of the connector 34 such that the connector 34 is disposed between the tabs 62. The interference between the tabs 62 and the connector 34 prevents the insert 32 from moving for-aft within the drawer 22 while the connection between the drawer 22 and the insert 32 prevents side-to-side movement of the insert 32 within the drawer 22.

It should be further appreciated that the drawer interface portion 52 of the connector 34 could be alternatively joined to the rear drawer wall 27, and that the insert interface portion 50 could attach to the rear insert wall 40 in the manner described above to prevent forward fore-aft movement of the insert 32 within the drawer 22. Alternatively, if the insert 32 does not have a rectangular configuration, the connector 34 can couple virtually any insert wall to the drawer 22 in the manner described above.

Furthermore, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the connector 34 has been illustrated and described above in the form of a clip constructed in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, and that any connector capable of joining an insert disposed within a drawer to the drawer itself, and more particularly to a drawer wall, is contemplated by the present invention. One such alternative is illustrated in FIGS. 8-9, whereby reference numerals corresponding to like elements of FIG. 6 are incremented by 100.

In particular, the drawer interface portion 152 of the connector 134 is connected to the interior surface of the drawer wall (for instance the front wall 26) via, for instance, the adhesive layer 155 coated or otherwise extending along the vertical wall 153 in the manner described above. The insert interface portion 150 includes a bent wall 154 extending down from the lower end of the vertical wall 153. The bent wall 154 curves rearward (e.g., in a direction towards the drawer interior) and towards the insert 32 disposed inside the drawer 22, and terminates at an upwardly extending distal end 156. The bent wall 154 thus defines a horizontally elongate upwardly facing channel 158 having a thickness to receive the upper end of an insert wall, for instance the front wall 38 of the insert 32.

As further illustrated, the engagement wall of the insert 32 includes a projection in the form of a lip 170 extending out and down from the engagement wall (the front wall 38 as illustrated) and terminates at a distal end 172. The lip 170 is sized and positioned to fit within the channel 158. As illustrated, the lip 170 projects out from the upper end of the front wall 38, but could alternatively project from the wall to be mounted at virtually any location so long as the distal end 172 of the lip 170, or any suitable alternative structure, projects into the channel 158.

Because the height of the distal end 156 with respect to the drawer base 24 is greater than the height of the distal end 172 of the lip 170 with respect to the drawer base 24, the insert is attached to the connector 134 by first raising the wall to be connected (the front wall 38 as illustrated) until the distal end 172 of the lip 170 is at a height greater than the distal end 156 of the bent wall 154. Next, the distal end 172 is vertically aligned with the channel 158, and the wall is subsequently lowered so that the distal end 172 is inserted in the channel 158. In one aspect, the height of the channel 158 with respect to the drawer base 24 is less than the height of the distal end 156 with respect to the insert base 36. Accordingly, the insert 32 can rest flat against the drawer base 24 when the distal end 172 is disposed in the channel.

It should be appreciated that merely preferred embodiments of the invention and various aspects of the invention have been described above. However, many modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art, which will be within the spirit and scope of the invention. For instance, the while the connector 134 is configured as a clip in the manner described above, any suitable alternative apparatus that removably connects an insert to a drawer within the drawer interior is contemplated by the present invention, as understood by one having ordinary skill in the art. Therefore, the invention should not be limited to the described embodiments. To ascertain the full scope of the invention, the following claims should be referenced.