Title:
Method and device for organizing, storing, transporting and retrieving paperwork and documents associated with the paperwork-generating introduction of a new family member
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and apparatus (i.e., an organizer) are disclosed for parents or guardians to easily store, organize, transport, and retrieve documents and paperwork associated with the paperwork-generating introduction of a new member of a family (e.g., birth). In a preferred embodiment, the organizer comprises a lightweight briefcase containing: a plurality of folders or pocket enclosures with preprinted tab indexes corresponding to the essential activities, categories, and/or relevant subjects of an infant's/young child's administrative life; wallet cards having preprinted, pre-labeled spaces for entering important information relating to a newborn, i.e., that may be needed in an emergency situation where archived paperwork is not available; a notepad-like “Thank You Note” tracker; a set of extra folders with blank tabs to customize; and a reference sheet with suggested additional categories to mark on the blank tabs to customize the extra folders based upon the user's experience. The associated method comprises determining, through research and validation, the different categories of paperwork and documents typically associated with a paperwork-generating introduction of a new family member; followed by creating the aforementioned organizer; and then its use.



Inventors:
Shay, Tamar (Roslindale, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/014116
Publication Date:
07/21/2005
Filing Date:
12/15/2004
Assignee:
SHAY TAMAR
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
190/16, 190/108, 190/109, 206/425
International Classes:
A45C3/02; (IPC1-7): B65D69/00; A45C3/00; A45C13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, HIEP VAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICE OF A.P. DURIGON (CAMBRIDGE, MA, US)
Claims:
1. A method of creating an organizer used in organizing, storing, transporting and retrieving paperwork and documents associated with the paperwork-generating introduction of a new family member, including paperwork and documents associated with that member before and after the introduction, wherein the method comprises the steps of: a. conducting research to determine the types of categories of paperwork and documents associated with the paperwork-generating introduction of a new family member, including paperwork and documents associated with that member before and after the introduction, wherein the researching comprises: (i) conducting background research using written resources; (ii) interviewing multiple professionals and organizations typically associated with that type of family member; and b. validating those categories by interviewing experienced caregivers and legal guardians, who have had a new family member introduced to the caregivers' and guardians' responsibility, as to the categories the caregivers and guardians have encountered, including before and after introduction of the member; c. selecting the most frequently encountered categories; d. preprinting the names of a plurality of the most frequently encountered categories on separate indexing tabs of folders; e. creating a reference sheet listing a plurality of the next most frequently encountered categories; f. providing additional folders with blank tabs for imprinting some of the categories on the reference sheet based upon a user's experience; and g. placing the folders, and reference sheet, in a satchel.

2. The method of claim 1 wherein the preprinted categories include a category for a birth certificate and Social Security registration card.

3. The method of claim 2 wherein the preprinted categories include a category for insurance.

4. The method of claim 3 wherein the preprinted categories encompass health records.

5. The method of claim 4 wherein the preprinted categories encompass immunizations and vaccinations.

6. The method of claim 5 wherein the preprinted categories include a category for pediatrician visits and health-care receipts.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein the categories preprinted include a category for childcare search.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the method includes adding a pad for tracking thank you notes associated with the introduction.

9. The method of claim 8 wherein the method includes adding a pad for tracking gifts associated with the introduction.

10. A method of creating an organizer used for the organization, storage, transport and retrieval of paperwork and documents associated with the paperwork-generating introduction of a new family member, wherein the method comprises the steps of: a. conducting research to determine the types of categories of paperwork and documents associated with the paperwork-generating introduction of a new family member; b. validating those categories by interviewing a plurality of individuals, who have had a new family member introduced to their responsibility, as to the categories they have encountered; c. selecting the most frequently encountered categories; d. preprinting the names of a plurality of the most frequently encountered categories on separate indexing tabs of folders; e. creating a reference sheet listing a plurality of the next most frequently encountered categories; and f. providing additional folders with blank tabs for imprinting some of the categories on the reference sheet based upon a user's experience; and g. placing the folders, and reference sheet, in a satchel.

11. The method of claim 10 further comprising researching paperwork-generating events associated with that member before and after the introduction.

12. The method of claim 10 wherein the steps of determining the categories of paperwork and documents typically associated with the paperwork-generating introduction of a new family member includes the following steps: (i) background research using written resources; (ii) interviews with multiple professionals or organizations typically associated with that type of family member; and (iii) interviews of experienced caregivers and legal guardians.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the preprinted categories include a category for a birth certificate and Social Security registration card.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein the preprinted categories include a category for insurance.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein the preprinted categories encompass health records.

16. The method of claim 15 wherein the preprinted categories encompass immunizations and vaccinations.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein the preprinted categories include a category for pediatrician visits and health-care receipts.

18. The method of claim 17 wherein the categories preprinted include a category for childcare search.

19. The method of claim 18 wherein the method includes adding a pad for tracking thank you notes associated with the introduction.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein the method includes adding a pad for tracking gifts associated with the introduction.

Description:

This Utility Patent Application is based upon an earlier Provisional Patent Application, Ser. No. 60/529,975, filed Dec. 15, 2003. Applicant claims the benefit of priority from the Provisional Application.

FIELD

The present invention relates to holders or organizers for storing documents and other paperwork.

BACKGROUND

In modern times, the introduction of a new family member (e.g., the birth of a child) are inevitably associated with: (i) the generation of significant amounts of paperwork; and (ii) rushed, hurried, or chaotic situations where those involved may not have the time, ability, or inclination to keep track of said paperwork. For example, in the case of a newborn infant, there may be paperwork and documents associated with hospital costs, insurance billing, health tests and reports, birth certificates, christening/baptism, pediatrician visits, and Social Security registration.

Usually, copies of the paperwork or other documents are given to a parent at the hospital on an ad hoc and ongoing basis. The parent, who may be feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, is typically left with no other option but to temporarily store the paperwork in unorganized piles and to transport it home via whatever means are available, e.g., stuffing it into purses or overnight bags. That makes it difficult to find certain documents if they are needed while at the hospital; also, items may be damaged or lost during transport. Moreover, while the paperwork can be organized and stored once back at home, it may be the case that the parent does not have an established organization/storage system, leading to lost, misplaced, or difficult to find documents.

Additionally, even if there is such a family system, the paperwork/documents might end up being divided among a number of categorical files or folders (e.g., insurance bills/information in an insurance-related folder, health records in a healthcare-related folder), making it potentially difficult to find certain child-related documents. For example, years later, parents who send their child to summer camps often hunt through old boxes, filing cabinets, and attic storage to retrieve medical and birth records which are incredibly difficult to locate.

Products currently exist (e.g., briefcases and folders) for organizing papers in general. For example, U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 20040040876, published Mar. 4, 2004, discloses a “Home Purchase Organizer.” That organizer contains a folder with preprinted sheets for homeowner information regarding the purchase and ownership of a home, including storing legal documents and providing a location for the recordation of important information and phone numbers.

This should not be confused with products that organize an infant's mementos, and sentimental objects generated in an infant's first years such as teeth, hair, photos and finger paintings. These products store sentimental keepsakes and do not provide a parent any help with organizing the paperwork generated for infants and newborns. In addition, a harried, new parent (who may be unorganized generally, not to mention during the stress of the childbirth process) is unlikely to have the wherewithal or experience to effectively organize and categorize paperwork using generic products such as a briefcase and folders. Instead, paperwork will typically be consolidated into a flimsy hospital gift shop bag, neither organized nor safe from damage nor quickly retrievable.

In short, there are no existing products that help a parent to easily and quickly organize the specific type of paperwork and documentation that is generated in relation to the new member of the family.

Accordingly, a primary object of the present invention is to provide a portable, briefcase-like organizer that is adapted for the organization, transport, storage, and retrievability of paperwork and other documents associated with paperwork-generating events of a new member of a family (e.g., a newborn child),, which can be used easily to organize, store, transport and quickly retrieve important documents even in rushed, stressful, or chaotic situations.

Another primary object of the present invention is to provide a briefcase-like organizer that comes pre-outfitted with a number of organizational tools specifically and categorically associated with the paperwork generated by the introduction of a new member to the family such as a newborn child.

Another object of the present invention is to provide an organizer where all the paperwork and documents associated with a particular child can be organized and permanently stored in one location, so that a parent with several children can locate a specific document or specific information for that child.

SUMMARY

An organizer for storing, organizing, transporting and retrieving documents and paperwork associated with the paperwork generated by a new member of a family (e.g., newborns, infants, and children) comprises a sturdy, portable, archival-quality briefcase or satchel having an interior dimensioned to accommodate standard-sized papers. In the preferred embodiment, the interior is accessible via a push-button latch on a cover. Provided inside the briefcase are a number of organizational tools for a parent to use in organizing and storing an infant's paperwork. The preferred organizational tools include: a plurality of folders or pocket enclosures with preprinted tab indexes corresponding to the activities, categories, and/or relevant subjects of an infant's/young child's administrative life; wallet cards having preprinted, pre-labeled spaces for entering important information relating to a newborn, i.e., that may be needed in an emergency situation where archived paperwork is not available; a notepad-like “Thank You Note” tracker; a set of extra folders with blank tabs to customize; and a reference sheet of suggested folder categories that helps the parent anticipate paperwork and documents.

The preprinted tabs on some of the illustrated folders quickly enable a parent to manage, for example, an infant's paperwork, since they include the essential six categories of paperwork and documents typically associated with childbirth, newborns, and infants. Those six categories, and the suggested additional categories on the reference sheet, were determined through a process of research and validation, based on hundreds of hours of interviews and product testing by new mothers. The extensive research and validation form a major portion of the present invention.

In use, since the categories of paperwork are already researched and provided on the tab folders, a new parent merely has to: (i) select the preprinted tab that corresponds to whatever paperwork naturally comes up in the infant's first years of life; or (ii) where there is no preprinted tab, write down the paperwork category; and (iii) file the paperwork in the appropriate folder. This, for example, allows an infant's paperwork to be quickly and easily managed, in any stressful situation (e.g., while at the hospital), thereby providing parents organizational relief from the anxiety of paperwork and allowing them to celebrate and to focus on what's most important about the experience at hand.

The organizer can be expanded to include specific categories unique to each child, which are included as suggested categories, by marking the tabs on the extra “blank” folders to correspond appropriately to the particular need at hand. In the preferred embodiment, nine blank folders are provided for that purpose, but additional folders can be added.

Separate organizers would be used for each member as it joins the household. Those family members could range from a newborn to a new family pet to a new guardianship for a declining, elderly parent.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a front elevation view of a briefcase organizer for paperwork relating to newborns, infants, and children, according to the present invention;

FIGS. 1B & 1C are top and bottom plan views, respectively, of the briefcase;

FIGS. 1D & 1E are front and rear perspective views, respectively, of the briefcase;

FIGS. 1F & 1G are left and right side elevation views, respectively, of the briefcase;

FIGS. 1H is a front perspective view of the briefcase with its cover in a partially-open position;

FIG. 2 is a partial view of a plurality of organizational tools (e.g., folders with preprinted tabs) provided inside the briefcase;

FIG. 3 shows a user removing a selected folder from the briefcase;

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a wallet card(s) portion of the organizational tools; and

FIG. 5 is a partial view of a “Thank You Note” tracker provided as part of the organizational tools.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

An organizer 10 for storing, organizing, transporting, and retrieving documents and paperwork associated with the introduction of a new member of a family (e.g., a newborn, infant, or child), which comprises a sturdy, portable briefcase or satchel 12 and a set of organizational tools 14. In the preferred embodiment, the briefcase 12 has a handle 16 and an interior 18 dimensioned to accommodate standard-sized folders and papers and accessible by way of a locking cover 20. The organizational tools 14 (see FIG. 2) include six folders (e.g., 22a, 22b, 22c, 22d) with preprinted categorical tabs (e.g., 24); extra folders (not shown) with blank tabs; a reference sheet (not shown) of suggested folder categories for the extra folders; wallet cards 26a, 26b; and a “Thank You Note” tracker pad 30. The preprinted folders are specifically selected and adapted for use in categorizing and organizing the initial types of paperwork and documents typically associated with childbirth, newborns, and infants. In use, the organizer 10 is taken along when a parent goes to the hospital for childbirth (or the parent is given the organizer while at the hospital). As paperwork is generated and given to the parent, the parent stores the paperwork in the briefcase 12 in an easily organized and arranged manner as facilitated by the organizational tools 14. For example, depending on the type of paperwork received, the parent would choose the tabbed folder corresponding to the paperwork received. Because the folders come preprinted with the first six categories of paperwork that all parents, natural or adoptive, receive, the task of organizing is made simple, which is vital in stressful situations such as hospital stays.

The categorical indicia on the six preprinted tabs (e.g., 24) corresponds to the types or categories of paperwork typically generated for newborns or infants. These categories are determined by way of a thorough research and validation process, such that a parent, when using the organizer 10, has available to him or her a means for quickly organizing, arranging, and retrieving paperwork.

The present invention, sold under the trademark BabyBriefcase™, is available for sale from Organized From The Start, Inc., of Roslindale, Mass. See www.babybriefcase.com.

FIGS. 1A-1I show the preferred briefcase portion 12 of the organizer 10. The briefcase 12 includes a plurality of generally-perpendicular, interconnected walls 32a-32e: front wall 32a, rear wall 32b, left sidewall 32c, right sidewall 32d, and bottom wall 32e. The walls together define the briefcase interior 18.

In the preferred embodiment, cover 20 is a creased flap, which is integrally attached to the top of the rear wall 32b. The flap includes both the top wall 34 of the briefcase, with the handle 16 attached thereto, and an integral front panel 36 that hangs over the front wall 32a when the cover is closed.

A pushbutton latch or lock 38 removably attaches the front flap to the briefcase's body. The latch 38 comprises two main parts: a pushbutton actuator 38a attached to the front flap 36; and, a retainer 38b attached to the front sidewall 32a.

The interior 18 of the briefcase 12 is at least large enough to accommodate and store standard-sized documents, i.e., it should be possible to store 8.5″×11″ papers without folding or bending, and to easily view each new folder tab without having to remove it from the case.

The exterior of the briefcase includes a side slot 40 (see FIG. 1E) to hang a pen.

The briefcase 12 is made of a sturdy, lightweight material such as polypropylene, all or a portion of which may be translucent or transparent for seeing the interior of the briefcase. For example, in FIG. 1A the front flap 36 is shown as being transparent in order to see the photograph window 42 located under the front flap 36 and attached to the front sidewall 32a. This enables a photograph to be seen from the exterior of the briefcase while still protecting the photograph under the front flap. As such, the photograph can be used as a briefcase “identifier,” i.e., indicia, viewable on the outside of the briefcase, representing the subject of the briefcase's contents. For example, if a family has several organizers 10 for various children, a picture of each child is displayed in the photograph window of the respective organizers, enabling a parent, grandparent or even young pre-schooler to differentiate among the various organizers and to retrieve the correct briefcase without having to access its interior.

A frame-like cutout 44 (see FIG. 1A) is provided in the front flap 36. The cutout 44 aligns with the photograph window 42 when the cover 20 is closed. This enables a photograph held in the photograph window 42 to be seen more clearly, and provides an aesthetically-pleasing frame-like member to outline the photograph. The area of the front flap 36 around the frame-like cutout 44 preferably is colored to accentuate the frame-like character of the cutout 44. Alternatively, the cutout could be otherwise enhanced (e.g., patterned or embossed).

The briefcase 12 may be made from any number of other materials, including paperboard, leather, cloth, other plastic, and the like. Also, although the briefcase cover 20 has been illustrated as being a button closure, many other types of covers/closures could be used instead, e.g., a zippered top, hook-and-loop fastener, snap closure, and tie-string.

Turning now to FIGS. 2-5, as mentioned above, the organizational tools 14 may include the folders (e.g., 22a) with the preprinted tabs (e.g., 24), the wallet cards 26a-26b, and the “Thank You Note” tracker 30. The organizational tools are used by a parent to organize and store a baby's paperwork within the briefcase 12.

In the preferred embodiment, there are six essential folders with preprinted tabs, which read:

    • “Birth Certificate & Social Security Card”
    • “Insurance Paperwork”
    • “Immunizations & Vaccinations”
    • “Thank You Note Tracker & Gift Registry”
    • “Child Care Search”
    • “Pediatrician Visits & Healthcare Receipts”

For simplicity in the drawings, only four of these “preprinted” folders have been illustrated at 22a, 22b, 22c and 22d. See FIG. 2. As a sample, folder 22d has preprinted on the tab, which reads “Birth Certificate & Social Security Card.”

These categories represent the essential types or categories of paperwork typically associated with birth/hospital stay, post-birth activities, infants, etc. In addition, the reference sheet (not shown), provided in the briefcase, suggests various other paper-generating categories that a parent might encounter. The parent can use a permanent marker to write a particular category on a blank tab of one of the extra folders (provided in the organizer) to customize that folder with the particular category based on his or her particular experience. Some of the suggested categories on the organizer's reference sheet include:

The First Daze

    • Mom's Discharge Summary
    • Prescriptions & Post-OP
    • Final Adoption Papers
    • Nursing/Feeding
    • Birth Announcement
    • Ceremony Planning

Medical

    • Baby's Discharge Info
    • First Hearing Test
    • Ultrasounds
    • NICU

After the Fog Lifts

    • New Mom Groups
    • Play Groups
    • Child Care Receipts
    • Parenting Articles
    • Baby Equipment Warranties & Instructions
    • Child-proofing
    • Coupons

The categories on the preprinted tabs, and the suggested extra categories on the reference sheet, have been selected through a research and validation process (i.e., hundreds of hours and interviews and product testing) to provide both the breadth and depth necessary for a new parent to easily categorize and store virtually any type of paperwork likely to be encountered. Because the categories are both pre-selected and comprehensive, it is very easy for a parent to use the organizational tools to transport, categorize, store and retrieve paperwork, even in situations (i.e., a hospital stay) where attentions are rightly focused elsewhere.

The preprinted, categorical indicia are provided in a pleasing, “friendly” font. The folders are pastel colored to reflect a baby motif, and they are frosted. These aesthetics are meant to render an otherwise potentially-intimidating filing system into something friendly and inviting to use.

FIG. 5 shows the wallet cards 26a, 26b. The wallet cards are small, wallet-sized cards onto which a parent may enter an infant's vital/emergency information. Pre-labeled spaces are provided for the baby's name, date of birth, allergies, insurance provider primary member, group, and ID number, and phone numbers for mother, father, caregiver, pediatrician, and insurance provider. This content was physician-reviewed and reflects the most essential, initial information needed by an emergency room if the child needs emergency care.

FIG. 6 shows the “Thank You Note” tracker 30. The tracker 30 helps an exhausted new parent track the gifts and good deeds that they have received. The tracker 30 is a small paper or paper tablet having spaces for tracking the date, gift or “good deed”, “from whom”, and a “sent” check box. The tracker 30 may include a “tips” section providing advice for a new parent. Additionally, papers or booklets with other “tips” or advice may be provided.

Each of the organizers 10 can be customized. Each organizer includes blank folders with blank tabs. Nine blank folders are provided in the preferred embodiment. A user can permanently mark the tabs of these extra folders to cover later additional categories for the new family member.

In another embodiment of the present invention (not shown), the organizer 10 is provided in the form of a notebook with category tabs (i.e., with the same preprinted indicia as the labels 22a-22f) and pocket folders to hold documents.

As mentioned above, in a broad sense the organizer 10 provides a system for organizing the paperwork generated by the introduction of a new family member. In particular, the organizer could be provided for use with any one of many different paper-generating events, in which case it would help someone to organize and store vital documents and paperwork relating to that type of event in one place.

For another new family member, the organizer 10 would have the same core features as the above-described organizer for paperwork relating to newborns and infants: briefcase or satchel, folders, wallet cards, “Thank You Note” tracker, and (optionally) adhesive-backed labels. However, instead of the folder tabs having indicia associated with infant/newborn paperwork, the labels or folders would be provided with indicia representing the types or categories of paperwork typically associated with this other family member. While the family member may be known to the family, “introduction” is used in the legal sense of a new financial or guardian relationship or legal responsibility as a next of kin. The following table gives some examples of various new family members who might be the subject of an organizer 10, and the label/folder indicia that might be associated with them (others are possible):

NEW
FAMILY
MEMBERPOSSIBLE CATEGORICAL INDICIA FOR FOLDERS
PetImmunizations & Vaccinations, Vet Visits, Major Surgeries &
BriefcaseProcedures, Breeding Tracking, Feeding Schedule, Exercise
Schedule, Grooming, Articles, Toy ideas Kennel Care
Instructions, Kennel Packing List, etc.
EldercareHealthcare Proxy, Hospitalizations, Estate Planning,
BriefcaseInsurance (Medicare, Supplementary Coverage, Long-term
Policies), Nursing Homes

Of course, the folders could be provided with appropriate preprinted indicia in addition to blank folders that could be permanently marked/categorized by a user.

To determine the appropriate label categories particular to a new family member, it would be necessary, as was done for the organizer for newborns and infants, to conduct thorough research and validation to determine the different categories of paperwork and documents typically generated before and after the paper-generating event in question. Also, it might be necessary to select and validate an appropriate subset of these categories for use with the labels, i.e., if there are many categories, it may be necessary to establish group categories or to select the most likely encountered categories, in order to arrive at a manageable number of paperwork categories for the reference sheet.

The process of determining the different categories of paperwork and documents typically associated with the paper-generating introduction of a new family member may include the following steps: (i) background research on the Internet or using library resources; (ii) research and/or interviews with multiple professionals or organizations typically associated with that type of family member; and (iii) research, interviews, and validation/surveys of experienced caregivers and legal guardians.

The present invention may be characterized as an organizer to manage the introduction of a new family member, wherein the organizer comprises: a portable container (briefcase, satchel, etc.) having an interior accessible though a selectively-closeable cover, said interior being dimensioned to accommodate and flatly store standard-sized documents (e.g., 8.5″×11″ documents); and a plurality of organizational tools located inside the container and comprising a plurality of folders (folders, accordion files, etc.) and a document categorization means for quickly and easily organizing, storing, and retrieving documents associated with the family member, wherein the document categorization means comprises a plurality of preprinted indicia on tab index portions of the folders, that are pre-selected and pre-determined to correspond to a plurality of the types or categories of paperwork or documents typically generated or associated with a new family member, whereby a user can easily and quickly categorize, organize, store, and later retrieve paperwork associated with the new family member even if generally unorganized, harried, or otherwise distracted or unable to devote much time to clerical matters.

The present invention may also be characterized as an organizer for a paper-generating introduction of a new family member, wherein the organizer comprises: a portable container having an interior accessible though a selectively-closeable cover, said interior being dimensioned to accommodate and flatly store standard-sized documents; and a plurality of organizational tools located inside the container and comprising a plurality of document subdividers, wherein at least a portion of the document subdividers have preprinted thereon a plurality of indicia that are pre-selected and pre-determined to correspond to a plurality of the types or categories of paperwork or documents typically generated or associated with a new family member, whereby a user can easily and quickly categorize, organize, store, and later retrieve paperwork associated with the family member even if generally unorganized, harried, or otherwise distracted or unable to devote much time to clerical matters. The “document subdividers” correspond to either: (i) folders; or (ii) folders in combination with adhesive-backed labels that can be attached to the folders.

Since certain changes (including those listed above) may be made in the above-described organizer for paperwork relating to new family members without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention herein involved, it is intended that all of the subject matter of the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted merely as examples illustrating the inventive concept herein and shall not be construed as limiting the invention.