Title:
Revolving shoe and accessory carousel configured for use in upper recess of a closet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A carousel organizer is provided that includes a housing mounted into an upper recess of a closet. The housing provides a track for a belt mounted inside the housing, the belt being driven by a motor. Items are stored on hooks that attach to the belt. In this way items are stored in an orderly manner and made easily accessible by activating the motor to bring the items along the track and present them to a user.



Inventors:
Moore, Michael G. (Brightwaters, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/994804
Publication Date:
05/25/2006
Filing Date:
11/22/2004
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F3/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
PUROL, SARAH L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE FARRELL LAW FIRM, P.C. (Melville, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An organizer comprising: a housing; a belt supported by the housing; a motor for driving the belt along the housing; a plurality of hooks mounted to the belt; at least one support arm for mounting the housing in an upper recess of a closet.

2. The organizer of claim 1 wherein the support arm is constructed and arranged to be mountable on a shelf.

3. The organizer of claim 1 wherein the support arm is constructed and arranged to be mountable on a ceiling.

4. The organizer of claim 1 wherein opposing upper and lower arms comprise the at least one support arm, and wherein the organizer mounted in the upper recess of a closet by press fit between the opposing upper and lower arms.

5. The organizer of claim 1 further comprising shoe storage means.

6. The organizer of claim 5 wherein the shoe storage means further comprises a shoe shape keeper with a mounting bore, the bore having dimensions slightly larger than the end of the hooks.

7. A method for organizing items in an upper recess of a closet, comprising steps of: providing a housing; mounting a belt in the housing; mounting a motor on the housing, operably connected to the belt, the motor constructed and arranged to drive the belt along the housing; mounting a hook on the belt; mounting the housing in the upper recess of a closet; and storing an item on the hook.

8. The method of claim 7 wherein the step of mounting the housing further comprises mounting the housing on a shelf.

9. The method of claim 7 wherein the mounting the housing step further comprises mounting the housing to a ceiling.

10. The method of claim 7 wherein the support arm is adjustable.

11. The method of claim 7 further comprising mounting shoe storage means on the hook.

12. The method of claim 1 1 wherein the shoe storage means further comprises a shoe shape keeper with a mounting bore, the bore having dimensions slightly larger than the end of the hooks.

13. The method of claim 11 further comprising activating the motor to drive the belt around the housing.

14. An organizer comprising: a tubular housing defining a circular track; a slit in the housing, the slit facing the center of the track; a belt supported by the housing, next to and parallel with the slit; a hook mounted onto the belt, through the slit; a support arm operably connected to the housing constructed and arranged to mount the housing into an upper recess of a closet.

15. The organizer of claim 14 wherein the support arm is constructed and arranged to be mountable on a shelf.

16. The organizer of claim 14 wherein the support arm is constructed and arranged to be mountable on a ceiling.

17. The organizer of claim 14 wherein the support arm is adjustable.

18. The organizer of claim 14 further comprising shoe storage means.

19. The organizer of claim 14 wherein the shoe storage means further comprises a shoe shape keeper with a mounting bore, the bore having dimensions slightly larger than the end of the hooks.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to methods and devices for organizing and storing shoes and garment accessories, and in particular, relates to a revolving carousel mounted in an upper recess of a closet.

BACKGROUND

Over time, storage areas usually become disorganized and cluttered as items accumulate. For example, bedroom closets frequently become cluttered as shoes and various accessories gather on the floor thereof. As a result, items kept in such closets and areas are difficult to find when needed and frequently become damaged. Shoe pairs frequently become separated and the closet space becomes disorganized.

In an attempt to solve this organizational dilemma, various storage organizers including racks, shelves, drawers, pockets and combinations of these have been developed. Although providing some organization, such organizers have numerous drawbacks. In particular, although racks and shelves elevate the stored items, they fail to prevent clutter. In addition, such racks and shelves cannot take advantage of unused closet or storage space, namely, the space above the shelves in a closet. Although organizers including drawers, pockets and hangers can individually store items, they store the items out of view or otherwise conceal the items, making it harder to locate and identify a desired item.

One prior attempt to solve such problems associated with racks, shelves, drawers, and vertical pockets is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,669,276, the contents of which are incorporated by reference herein. In particular, a shoe display bag and system provides storage for shoes using space where hangers are normally used. Such a conventional system hangs from a rod and fails to expand the usable space in a closet, it only provides a way to store items on the closet rod, which is typically already in use for storage of other items.

Thus, there is a continuing need for an organizer that expands the useable space in a closet; an organizer that makes a usually inaccessible, under-used area of storage space, i.e., the space above a top shelf and below the ceiling, useable in a practical way. It is desirable that the organizer be readily mountable, either directly to the ceiling or otherwise, without the need for any specialized tools and preferably, without any tools at all.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A carousel organizer is provided that includes a housing mounted into an upper recess of a closet. The housing provides a track for a belt mounted inside the housing, the belt preferably being driven by a motor. Items are stored on hooks that attach to the belt. In this way items are stored in an orderly manner and made easily accessible by moving the belt, such as by activating the motor, to bring the items along the track and present them to a user.

In further detail, and in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention, the organizer comprises a housing, a belt mounted in the housing, a motor operably connected to the belt, the motor constructed and arranged to drive the belt along the housing, a plurality of hooks mounted on the belt, and a support arm constructed and arranged to mount the housing into an upper recess of a closet.

According to further aspects of the first embodiment, the support arm is constructed and arranged to be mountable on a shelf, or a ceiling. The support arms may be adjustable and shoe storage means may be provided.

A method is taught as well, for organizing items. The method comprises the steps of providing a housing; mounting a belt in the housing; mounting a motor on the housing, operably connected to the belt, the motor constructed and arranged to drive the belt along the housing; mounting a hook on the belt; mounting the housing into an upper recess of a closet; and finally, storing an item on the hook.

In accordance with further aspects of the method the housing may be mounted on a shelf or to a ceiling. The support arm may be adjustable, and shoe storage means may be mounted on the hook.

In accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention, an organizer comprises a tubular housing defining a circular track; a slit in the housing, the slit facing the center of the track; a belt mounted within the housing, next to and parallel with the slit; a hook mounted onto the belt, through the slit; and a support arm operably connected to the housing constructed and arranged to mount the housing into an upper recess of a closet.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top-down view of an organizer in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side view of the organizer in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates the interior of a track in an organizer according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates a shoe shape keeper in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 5a shows an organizer according to an embodiment of the present invention mounted on a shelf in an upper recess of a closet; and

FIG. 5b shows the organizer of FIG. 5b mounted to the ceiling of an upper recess of a closet.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Preferred embodiments of the present invention will be described in detail herein below with reference to the accompanying drawings. In addition, a detailed description of known functions and configurations incorporated herein have been omitted to avoid obscuring the subject matter of the present invention with unnecessary detail.

The present invention provides an organizer that is specifically designed to make use of the upper recess of a storage area, i.e., the space above the top shelf and below the ceiling of a closet or pantry. This space is usually too high to access or conveniently use as storage space. As a result, the space typically goes unused, or, if used, the space becomes cluttered, effectively hiding its items from view.

To make this upper recess practically functional, the present invention provides a housing that preferably functions like a track for a moveable belt. The belt is preferably positioned inside the housing and runs through its interior, along an entire length thereof. A slit in the housing also runs along its length, parallel to the belt, adjacent to an outer circumference of the belt, or parallel thereto. A plurality of hooks attach to the belt through the slit, with the belt being operably connected to a motor. The motor drives the belt through the housing so that the hooks, being attached to the belt as it moves, also move around the track. In this way, items placed on the hooks are moved along the track and presented to a user who stands at a certain point on the outside of the track.

FIG. 1 shows a top-down view of an organizer in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. A housing or track 2 has a band or belt, which may be elastic, hardened plastic, chain link, etc., that runs through an interior, along an entire length thereof. A number of shoe hooks 4 and accessory hooks 6 are attached thereto. A motor 14 drives the belt, which in turn, drives the hooks 4 and 6 around the track 2, like a carousel. A support beam 8 is attached to two opposite ends of the track 2 to provide stability and a rigid structure in the organizer, preventing deformation or bending of the track 2.

Each hook 4 and 6 holds an item and, as the motor 14 drives the band around the track 2, each item on each hook 4 and 6 is presented to a user standing in front of the apparatus as the motor 14 is activated. Preferably, the motor is activated by a switch mounted on a wall next to the closet door, much like the mounting of a light switch for the closet, or by remote control.

FIG. 2 is a side-view of an organizer in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. The track 2 is mounted on a support arm or mounting bracket 30. The arm or bracket 30 has a mounting base 22 on a mounting end and is fixedly attached to the track at the other end. The arm 30 is extendable and therefore, height adjustable. A wing nut 18 is preferably provided to allow for adjustment of height by controlling relative movement of an upper arm 20 and a lower arm 16. As well known with adjustable arms, the wing nut 18 or other adjustment means is loosened and the upper arm 20 pulled from the lower arm 22 to lengthen the overall support arm 30. When the desired length is obtained, the adjustment mechanism is secured to the position of the upper 20 and lower 16 arms in relation to each other, thereby maintaining the desired length, and thereby fix the position of the organizer in an upper recess of the closet.

The mounting base 22 may be directly mounted to a ceiling or shelf, preferably with screws. Alternatively, another pair of upper and lower arms are provided above the apparatus, to allow the apparatus to be secured in the space between an upper closet shelf and the closet ceiling, by press fitting the apparatus therein using the pair of opposing upper and lower arms, respectively.

In either case, the hooks 4 and 6 hang down, by gravity. To store items, they are hung on the hooks. If the hooks presented to a user are all taken, the motor 14 is activated, driving the belt to bring the hooks around the track 2 until an empty one is presented to the user.

FIG. 3 shows the band or belt 24 running through the interior of the track 2 with a number of hooks 4 and 6 attached thereto. The circular track 2 is defined by a tubular housing. The hooks 4 and 6 attach to the belt 24 preferably through a slit 32 in the track 2. The belt 24 runs next to and parallel with the slit 32. The slit 32 should run the entire length of the track 2 and is preferably disposed along its inner rim, facing the center of the track.

FIG. 4 depicts a shoe shape keeper 26 with a hole 261 for mounting onto the shoe hook 4. The hole, or bore 261, has a circumference and depth slightly larger than that of the end of the hook 4 and 6 so that the shape keeper 26 fits over the hook 4 and 6. Thus providing shoe storage means on the organizer without detrimental wear on the stored shoe.

FIG. 5a shows the housing 12 mounted into an upper recess of a closet 50 on a shelf 54. The closet 50 has a rod 52 for hanging various items 56. A top shelf 54 is mounted to the interior walls of the closet 50 in the customary manner, which is well-known. The housing 12 is mounted to the shelf 54 by its support arms 30. FIG. 5b sows the housing 12 mounted to the ceiling in an upper recess of the closet 50.

In the preceding specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments thereof. It will however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the claims that follow. The specification and drawings are accordingly to be regarded in an illustrative manner rather than a restrictive sense.





 
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