Title:
Clothes hamper cabinet
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A clothes hamper cabinet is configured as a fine piece of furniture to disguise its use to collect and store dirty clothes. The cabinet has a main body defining a storage chamber therein with a top opening at the upper section of the main body for receiving dirty clothes into the storage chamber and a front opening on the front wall for removing dirty clothes therefrom. A door substantially closes the front opening. Preferably, the cabinet is supplied with a top member or lid that substantially closes the top opening. A divider is provided to divide the storage chamber into subchambers to facilitate selective sorting of the clothes when being deposited in the cabinet. The back wall, bottom wall and divider can be provided with vent holes to facilitate air circulation through the storage chamber. One or more removable baskets can be utilized for ease of removing dirty clothes.



Inventors:
Boone, Kenneth G. (Fresno, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/364062
Publication Date:
08/30/2007
Filing Date:
02/28/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/290
International Classes:
A47G29/12
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ING, MATTHEW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RICHARD A. RYAN (Fresno, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A clothes hamper cabinet, comprising: a main body having a front wall, a back wall, a first side wall, a second side wall and a bottom wall; a storage chamber defined by said main body; an upper frame at an upper section of said main body, said upper frame defining a top opening, said top opening allowing access to said storage chamber; a front frame at said front wall, said front frame defining a front opening; and a door hingedly attached to said main body, said door configured to substantially close said front opening, wherein dirty clothes are received into said storage chamber through said top opening and removed from said storage chamber through said front opening.

2. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 1 further comprising one or more dividers in said storage compartment separating said storage compartment into two or more subchambers, each of said two or more storage chamber accessible through said top opening and said front opening.

3. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 2, wherein said cabinet has one divider separating said storage chamber into a first storage chamber and a second storage chamber.

4. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 2, wherein at least one of said dividers has one or more divider vent holes to facilitate air circulation through said storage chamber.

5. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 1, wherein said storage chamber has a liner on each of said first side wall and said second side wall.

6. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 1 further comprising a top member, said top member configured to selectively close said top opening.

7. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 6, wherein said top member is hingedly attached to said main body.

8. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 6, wherein said top member is removably received in said top opening.

9. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 1, wherein said back wall comprises a plurality of back vent holes, said plurality of back vent holes configured to facilitate ventilation through said storage chamber.

10. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 9, wherein said back wall comprises a vented material, said vented material having said plurality of back vent holes.

11. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 9, wherein said bottom member has a plurality of bottom holes, said bottom holes configured to facilitate ventilation and drainage.

12. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 1, wherein said bottom member has a plurality of bottom holes, said bottom holes configured to facilitate ventilation and drainage.

13. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 1 further comprising one or more baskets in said storage chamber, each of said one or more baskets configured to receive dirty clothes therein.

14. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 13, wherein each of said one or more baskets are slidably supported by a slide member, said slide member configured to remove said baskets from said storage chamber.

15. A clothes hamper cabinet, comprising: a main body having a front wall, a back wall, a first side wall, a second side wall and a bottom wall; a storage chamber defined by said main body; one or more dividers in said storage chamber, said one or more dividers separating said storage chamber into at least a first subchamber and a second subchamber; an upper frame at an upper section of said main body, said upper frame defining a top opening, said top opening allowing access to said storage chamber, each of said first subchamber and said second subchamber accessible through said top opening; a top member attached to said main body, said top member sized and configured to substantially close said top opening; a front frame at said front wall, said front frame defining a front opening; and a door hingedly attached to said main body, said door configured to substantially close said front opening, wherein dirty clothes are received into said first subchamber and said second subchamber through said top opening and removed therefrom through said front opening.

16. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 15, wherein at least one of said dividers has a plurality of divider vent holes and said back wall has a plurality of back vent holes to facilitate air circulation through said storage chamber.

17. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 16, wherein said bottom member has a plurality of bottom holes, said bottom holes configured to facilitate ventilation and drainage.

18. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 15 further comprising one or more baskets in said storage chamber, each of said one or more baskets configured to receive dirty clothes therein.

19. The clothes hamper cabinet according to claim 18, wherein each of said one or more baskets are slidably supported by a slide member, said slide member configured to remove said baskets from said storage chamber.

20. A clothes hamper cabinet, comprising: a main body having a front wall, a back wall, a first side wall, a second side wall and a bottom wall, said back wall having a plurality of back vent holes; a storage chamber defined by said main body; one or more dividers in said storage chamber, said one or more dividers separating said storage chamber into at least a first subchamber and a second subchamber; an upper frame at an upper section of said main body, said upper frame defining a top opening, said top opening allowing access to said storage chamber, each of said first subchamber and said second subchamber accessible through said top opening; a top member attached to said main body, said top member sized and configured to substantially close said top opening; a front frame at said front wall, said front frame defining a front opening; a door hingedly attached to said main body, said door configured to substantially close said front opening; and one or more baskets disposed in said storage chamber, each of said one or more baskets removable through said front opening; wherein dirty clothes are received into said first subchamber and said second subchamber through said top opening and removed therefrom through said front opening.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

None.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A. Field of the Invention

The field of the present invention relates generally to clothes hampers and other storage containers utilized to temporarily store clothing and other materials while waiting to be cleaned. In particular, the present invention relates to such clothes hampers that are configured to be aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. Even more particularly, the present invention relates to such clothes hampers that are functionally incorporated into a cabinet or cabinet-like piece of furniture.

B. Background

As is commonly known, most people accumulate dirty clothes and other clothing-like materials so that they can wash the clothes as a group. The accumulation of dirty clothes allows a person to more efficiently utilize the time spent collecting, sorting and washing the clothing and more effectively and efficiently utilize the soap, water and electric or gas appliances utilized to wash the clothes. Absent the accumulation of dirty clothing, a person would be washing clothes on a daily basis, which is virtually never done as it would be a very inefficient use of time and resources. For some people, accumulating clothes for cleaning purposes means creating a pile of clothes on the floor of a closet, bathroom or elsewhere until a sufficient amount of clothing is available for efficient cleaning. As this presents a somewhat unsightly and potentially odorous pile of clothing, most people do not just pile their dirty clothing on a floor. Instead, most people utilize some type of storage container, commonly referred to as a clothes hamper, to temporarily store their dirty clothing.

The typical clothes hamper is a relatively small container having a main body section in which is located the clothes storage chamber configured for receiving and removably storing clothes and/or other dirty materials. A standard clothes hamper has a body section that comprises front, back and side walls, a bottom member and a top member (or lid) to define the storage chamber therein. Some clothes hampers do not utilize the top member and, instead, have an open top. When utilized, the top member of the standard clothes hamper typically, but not exclusively, is hingedly attached to the back wall of the main body and configured to pivot open, swinging from the front towards the back, to allow access to the storage chamber. Although the top can be adapted to be attached or otherwise secured in the closed position to one or more of the side walls, generally the top member merely pivots to a closed position that rests on the top edges of the side walls. The storage chamber inside the main body is generally a single, open from the top compartment that is only accessible from the top by pivoting open the top member. The user utilizes the standard clothes hamper by pivotally raising the top member and dropping or otherwise depositing their dirty clothes, collectively, inside the storage chamber and pulling out the clothing to be washed. Depending on the weight of the clothes hamper and clothes inside, the user may be able to lift the clothes hamper and “dump” the clothing out of the storage chamber onto the floor where it can be sorted for cleaning.

As stated above, the heretofore available clothes hamper comprises a single contiguous storage chamber in which all the dirty clothing is placed and mixed. When it is time to clean the clothes, the user must first remove all of the clothing from the clothes hamper and then sort the clothes into their desired mix for cleaning (i.e., combining whites together, separating by color and/or type of material). Unfortunately, if a person wants to only clean a certain type of clothing, such as whites, he or she must either reach into and attempt to pull out only that clothing or dump the entire contents of the clothes hamper, sort out the clothing to be cleaned and then place the other clothing back into the clothes hamper for later sorting and cleaning. Needless to say, this can be a somewhat bothersome and inefficient.

Because the user must reach into the storage chamber of the standard clothes hamper to remove the dirty clothes, the typical clothes hamper is configured to not be very tall, usually no more than three to four feet high. A clothes hamper that was much taller would be difficult for most people to reach inside and retrieve the clothing collected at the bottom of the storage chamber. In addition, or alternatively thereto, the standard clothes hamper is configured to be sized and made out of materials, or otherwise configured, to allow the user to be able to lift the clothes hamper and dump the dirty clothing out of it. Naturally, to do so, the clothes hamper must be sized, configured and made out of materials that do not result in an unwieldy and excessively heavy object. In addition, the standard clothes hamper is provided with a main body that is not completely closed or sealed in order to allow air to circulate in the storage chamber so as to prevent molding or souring of the clothes collected therein. Generally, this is achieved by providing side walls that have a plurality of small to very small holes and/or a lid that does not sealably close at the top edge of the side walls. The air circulation ability can also be provided by selecting materials for the side walls that are somewhat porous or at least not completely solid. For instance, clothes hampers are popularly made out of wicker, cane or similar materials that have sufficient openings in the side walls so as to not result in a sealed container.

Unfortunately, currently available clothes hampers are made out of materials and otherwise configured such that they are not all the attractive, which is one reason most of them are placed in a closet or bathroom. Many people spend a significant amount of money on their bedroom furniture only to be forced, due to a lack of options, to have a clothes hamper that neither fits the decor nor compares with the overall quality of the remaining furniture in the room. As well known, having a relatively unattractive object in an otherwise well decorated or furnished room becomes an unwelcome eyesore and typically, unfortunately, a very negative focal point in the room. What is needed, therefore, is an improved clothes hamper that is configured to be in the shape of a cabinet that can pass for a fine piece of furniture. The preferred clothes hamper will be configured and made out of materials that will cooperate decoratively with other furniture in a room and not stand out as a typical clothes hamper eyesore. The preferred clothes hamper will be sized and configured to effectively disguise the fact that it is a clothes hamper. The preferred clothes hamper will allow easy access to the clothes collected in the storage chamber. The preferred clothes hamper will also allow user to sort clothes when he or she is placing the clothes in the clothes hamper so as to reduce the amount of time and effort to later sort the clothes for cleaning or to allow selective cleaning of the clothes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The clothes hamper cabinet of the present invention provides the benefits and solves the problems identified above. That is to say, the present invention discloses a clothes hamper that is incorporated into a cabinet that can be made out of materials and configured as a fine piece of furniture. Because the clothes hamper is built into the cabinet, it can be made out of fine woods or other preferred materials that fit with the decor and cooperate decoratively with other fine furniture in a room, such as a bedroom, thereby effectively disguising the fact that the cabinet is actually a clothes hamper. The preferred clothes hamper of the present invention has a removably attached or pivoting top member to open for receiving dirty clothes in the storage chamber and a front opening door or doors for removing the clothing therefrom. In a more preferred embodiment, the interior of the cabinet is provided with one divider that divides the storage chamber into two or more subchambers that the user can selectively utilize to place certain categories of clothing so as to presort the clothing, thereby reducing the time and effort necessary for sorting the clothing for cleaning and to allow selective cleaning of one or more of the clothing categories without having to search through all of the dirty clothes. The preferred clothing hamper cabinet is adequately vented, such as having a screened or screen-like back wall, to allow clothes to dry to prevent harm to the clothes.

In one general aspect of the present invention, the clothes hamper cabinet comprises a main body having a front wall, a back wall, a first side wall, an opposing second side wall and a bottom wall, which collectively define a storage chamber in the main body. An upper frame at the upper section of the main body defines a top opening that allows the user to deposit dirty clothes into the storage chamber. In the preferred embodiment, a top member or lid substantially closes the top opening. The top member can be hingedly or removably attached to the main body. The front wall has a front frame that defines a front opening through which the dirty clothes are removed from the storage chamber for sorting and cleaning. A door is hingedly attached to the front wall to substantially close the front opening to receive and collect clothes in the storage chamber. In the preferred embodiment, the cabinet includes a divider in the storage chamber that separates the single storage chamber into two or more subchambers, which are provided to allow the user to selectively deposit clothes therein to somewhat “presort” the clothes in the cabinet. Vent holes can be provided in the back wall, bottom wall and divider(s) to facilitate circulation of air through the storage chamber to ventilate and dry dirty clothes stored therein and facilitate the drainage of liquids out the bottom wall. The storage chamber or chambers can be lined with a liner material. One or more baskets can be disposed in each of the storage chambers to receive the dirty clothes deposited in the cabinet. In one configuration, the baskets can rest on the bottom wall. In a preferred embodiment, the baskets are supported by pairs of slide supports that allow the user to slidably remove the baskets from the storage chambers and dump the clothes for sorting and washing. Although the baskets can be made out of various materials, it is preferred that they be made out of mesh or mesh-like material to facilitate ventilation and drainage.

Accordingly, the primary objective of the present invention is to provide a clothes hamper cabinet that provides the advantages discussed above and overcomes the disadvantages and limitations which are associated with presently available clothes hampers.

An important objective of the present invention to provide a clothes hamper that is incorporated into a cabinet that can be made out of materials and configured as a fine piece of furniture, thereby effectively disguising the fact that it is a clothes hamper and allowing it to match or otherwise decoratively cooperate with the other furniture in a room.

It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a clothes hamper cabinet that has a removable or pivotally attached top member or lid for receiving clothes into the storage chamber and one or more doors on the front and/or side walls for removing clothes from the storage chamber.

It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a clothes hamper cabinet that has a storage chamber which is divided into two or more subchambers for selectively receiving categories of clothing therein so as to allow the user to presort the dirty clothing.

It is also an important objective of the present invention to provide a clothes hamper cabinet that is configured as fine furniture but be adequately vented to allow dirty clothes collected therein to dry so as to prevent mildew, rot, souring or other negative conditions.

The above and other objectives of the present invention will be explained in greater detail by reference to the attached figures and the description of the preferred embodiment which follows. As set forth herein, the present invention resides in the novel features of form, construction, mode of operation and combination of processes presently described and understood by the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the drawings which illustrate the preferred embodiments and the best modes presently contemplated for carrying out the present invention:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a clothes hamper cabinet that is configured according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention shown in the closed condition;

FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the clothes hamper cabinet of FIG. 1 shown with the top member or lid open for receiving dirty clothes in the storage chambers;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the clothes hamper cabinet of FIG. 1 shown with the front door open to allow the user to remove dirty clothes from the storage chambers for sorting and cleaning;

FIG. 4 is a top view of the clothes hamper cabinet of FIG. 1 with the top member or lid removed;

FIG. 5 is a back view of the clothes hamper cabinet of FIG. 1 showing use of a mesh or grid material for the back wall; and

FIG. 6 is a front view of the clothes hamper cabinet of the present invention having a basket removably disposed in each subchamber.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

With reference to the figures where like elements have been given like numerical designations to facilitate the reader's understanding of the present invention, the preferred embodiments of the present invention are set forth below. The enclosed figures and drawings are merely illustrative of a preferred embodiment and represent one of several different ways of configuring the present invention. Although specific components, materials, configurations and uses are illustrated, it should be understood that a number of variations to the components and to the configuration of those components described herein and in the accompanying figures can be made without changing the scope and function of the invention set forth herein. For purposes of simplifying the present disclosure, reference herein is generally to use of the present invention to collect dirty clothes for later sorting and washing, however, it is understood that the disclosure herein will apply to use of the present invention to collect materials other than dirty clothes, including but not limited to wash clothes, towels, bedding and the like (herein collectively referred to as clothes).

A clothes hamper cabinet that is manufactured out of the components of and configured pursuant to a preferred embodiment of the present invention is shown generally as 10 in the figures. As shown in FIG. 1, clothes hamper cabinet 10 is generally shaped as a typical cabinet with a main body 12 having a front wall 14, first side wall 16, opposite second side wall 18, back wall 20, top member or lid 22 and bottom member 24. In the preferred embodiment of clothes hamper cabinet 10 of the present invention, front wall 14 is provided with a door 26 that extends substantially from the bottom section 28 to the top section 30 of cabinet 10. As explained in more detail below, door 26 is hingedly attached to front wall 14 with one or more door hinges 32 that allow the user to pivotally open door 26 to allow access to storage chamber 34, shown in FIG. 2, for removal of the clothes therefrom. In the closed condition, as shown in FIG. 1, door hinges 32 maintain door 26 closed against front wall 14 to provide a clean look for closed cabinet 10. A door handle 36 can be utilized to open and close door 26. The configuration and cooperation of the various components that make up cabinet 10 will be explained in more detail below.

In the preferred embodiment, at least the materials for the front 14, first side wall 16, second side wall 18 and top member 22, which are the primary components that are seen when cabinet 10 is in use, are selected to configure cabinet 10 of the present invention as a fine piece of furniture. The back wall 20 and bottom member 24 will generally not be seen as often or as well and can be made out of less expensive materials, although they may be made out of the same materials as the other components of cabinet 10. Preferably, as explained below, both back wall 20 and bottom member 24 are configured to facilitate air circulation through storage chamber 34 of cabinet 10. As is well known, the primarily seen components can be made out various wood products, including oak, mahogany, cedar, pine and numerous other wood products that are commonly, or even not commonly, utilized for furniture. Alternatively, these components can be made out a variety of non-wood materials, including various metals, and in combination with wood materials. As will be readily understood by those skilled in the art, the options for the materials to be utilized for cabinet 10 are virtually unlimited, with the primary considerations being aesthetic and the ability to support itself in a generally upright position while utilized to receive, store and retrieve clothes therefrom. If the materials for cabinet 10 are chosen for aesthetics, the user will have a clothes hamper that is unlike that which is currently available such that it can decoratively fit into a room's decor and not stand out as an eyesore piece of furniture, as with presently available or prior art clothes hampers.

As set forth above, the various walls of cabinet 10 define storage chamber 34 therein that is configured to receive dirty clothes and store them until the user is ready to remove the clothes for cleaning. Because some of the clothes or other materials, particularly wash clothes and towels, may be wet or damp when placed in storage chamber 34, it may be preferred to provide cabinet 10 with a liner that lines the inside of storage chamber 34 so as to protect the walls 14, 16, 18 and 20, top member 22 and bottom member 24 from contact with damp or wet clothes. As is well known, such a liner can be made out a wide variety of materials, including plastics and the like that are at least substantially impervious to fluid so as to keep any fluid away from the quality materials used for main body 12. Preferably, any such liner is transparent or compliments cabinet 10 so as to not detract from its appearance.

In one embodiment, cabinet 10 is provided with a large, single storage chamber 34 that receives and collects all the clothes therein. In a preferred embodiment, storage chamber 34 is separated into two or more subchambers, such as first subchamber 38 and second subchamber 40 shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. As shown, one or more dividers 42 can be utilized to define first 38 and second 40 subchambers in storage chamber 34. Preferably, divider 42 extends across storage chamber 34 from front wall 14 to back wall 20 and from bottom member 24 to the top section 30 to completely separate storage chamber 34 into first 38 and second 40 subchambers. Divider 42 can be made out of the same quality materials utilized for the main body 12 or it can be made out of other materials, such as those used for back wall 20 or bottom member 24. Use of divider 42 to define first 38 and second 40 subchambers provide the benefit of allowing the user to separate the clothing as he or she is placing them into clothes hamper cabinet 10 for holding until washing. In this manner, the clothes can be separated into like colors or materials, such as whites or towels, to allow the user to more quickly sort the clothes when it is necessary to wash them or to allow the user to more easily select one category of clothes to wash, thereby eliminating the need to dump all of the clothes in order to sort out a particular type of clothes for washing. Although the drawings show the use of one divider 42 to divide storage chamber 34 into first 38 and second 40 subchambers, those skilled in the art will readily recognize that the invention is not so limited. Depending on the overall dimensions of cabinet 10 and the size necessary for the subchambers, storage chamber 34 can be divided into three or more subchambers by utilizing two or more dividers.

As shown in FIG. 2, top member 22 is configured to open to allow easy access to storage chamber 34, as divided into first 38 and second 40 subchambers by divider 42, so that the user may deposit dirty clothes therein. In the preferred embodiment, top member 22 is hingedly connected to main body 12 by use of one or more top hinges 44. In a preferred embodiment, top hinge 44 extends across the width back wall 20 and connects to first 16 and second 18 side walls by way of a pivot member 46, as best shown in FIG. 4 (a top view of cabinet 10 with top member 22 removed). As will be understood by those skilled in the art of making cabinets and the like, pivot member 46 should be sufficiently sized and configured to support the weight of top member 22 and the operation of top hinge or hinges 44. Alternatively, top hinges 44 can be a standard folding hinge, piano-type hinge or other hinges utilized in similarly configured items. If desired, cabinet 10 can also be provided with a support mechanism, not shown, that attaches to the lower surface 48 of top member 22 to support top member 22 in a generally upright position, much like older stereo cabinets, when the user needs to have access to storage chamber 34 for depositing dirty clothes therein. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, top member 22 is provided with a plurality of top frame members 50 on lower surface 48 that are configured to engage the upper frame 52, which defines top opening 54, of main body 12 so as to close top member 22 against the top section 30, a configuration familiar to those skilled in the art of cabinets. Although the upper surface 56 of top member 22 is preferably configured out of the same quality materials utilized for main body 12, lower surface 48 can be provided with material, such as melamine in the form of a coating or an attached separate component, that allows the user to write or otherwise indicate which clothes goes into which of first 38 or second 40 subchambers. This may be particularly useful for a cabinet 10 having more than two subchambers and/or those cabinets 10 that may be too tall to easily look down into to determine the proper subchamber 38 or 40 in which to place dirty clothes.

As stated above, front wall 14 is provided with door 26 that is configured to open so as to allow access to storage chamber 34 in main body 12, or to first 38 and second 40 subchambers, as best shown in FIG. 3. Although the embodiments shown in the figures include only a single door 26, those skilled in the art will readily recognize that the cabinet 10 of the present invention can be configured with two or more doors. As shown in FIG. 3, door hinges must be sufficiently sized and configured to support the weight of door 26, particularly when it is open. When closed, door hinges 32 are configured so as to substantially close door 26 against front frame members 56 of front wall 14. In the preferred embodiment, front frame members 58 define a front opening 60 through which the dirty clothes are removed when door 26 is open. Door 26 can be configured with various molding or other designer elements to assist cabinet 10 with fitting in with the decor of the room in which it will be utilized. If desired, door 26 can be provided with a latch or attachment (i.e., magnets) mechanism, not shown, to securely close it against front frame members 58. In one configuration, any such latch mechanism can be generally located at a location on front frame members 58 across from door handle 36 or at or near the upper and/or lower corners of front opening 60. Door 26 can also be provided with a swing mechanism, also not shown, that prevents door 26 from swinging full open to avoid contact with a nearby wall or another piece of furniture.

To facilitate air circulation through storage chamber 34 it is preferred that back wall 20 be provided with a plurality of back vent holes 62, as best shown in FIG. 5, to facilitate the drying of any damp or we clothes inside storage chamber 34. In one embodiment, back wall 20 is a solid piece of material, such as wood, that has back vent holes 62 drilled or otherwise placed therein. In a preferred embodiment, back wall 20 comprises a screen, mesh or other vented material, shown as 64, that is configured with a plurality of back vent holes 62 and supported by back frame members 66. Such material can be made out of plastic, wire mesh or a variety of other materials that provide suitable sized openings to facilitate air movement through storage chamber 34. To further facilitate air movement, divider 42 can also be provided with a plurality of divider vent holes 68, shown in FIG. 3, to allow air to flow between first 38 and second 40 subchambers and back vent holes 62. As with back wall 20, divider 42 can be a solid material, such as wood or the like, that has a plurality of divider vent holes 68 drilled or otherwise placed therein or it can be made out of the same or similar screen, mesh or other vented material 64 utilized at back wall 20. Back vent holes 62 and divider vent holes 68 should be sufficient in number and size that air will flow through storage chamber 34 (i.e., first 38 and second 40 subchambers) without any clothes migrating from one subchamber to another or out cabinet 10 altogether. To provide drainage from storage chamber 34, and to some extend further facilitate air circulation, bottom member 24 can be provided with a plurality of bottom holes 70, as best shown in FIG. 4, which can be drilled into or otherwise provided in bottom member 24. Bottom holes 70 should be sufficiently sized so as to facilitate water or other fluid draining therethrough, but not so large that clothing falls through. If desired, a screen or mesh material can be provided over back vent holes 62, divider vent holes 68 or bottom holes 70 to prevent any clothes from falling through such holes.

In use, the cabinet 10 of the present invention is preferably made out of quality materials to provide a quality piece of furniture, as opposed to a typical clothes hamper. Normally, the cabinet is in the closed position as shown in FIG. 1. When the user wishes to deposit dirty clothes therein, he or she will raise top member 22 a sufficient distance to allow the clothes to be deposited through top opening 54 into first 38 or second 40 subchamber of storage chamber 34, depending on the sorting desired by the user. The clothes will fall down toward the bottom section 28 of cabinet 10. Top member 22 is then closed. When the user needs or desires to wash clothes, he or she opens door 26 and removes the dirty clothes in storage chamber 34 through front opening 60. If desired, the user can remove clothes from one of first 38 or second 40 subchamber for selective washing of those clothes. With top member 26 and door 26 closed, cabinet 10 will be a quality piece of furniture that will better fit with the decor of the room, such as a bedroom, where it is utilized instead of the traditional clothes hamper currently available.

In an embodiment, shown in FIG. 6, cabinet 10 includes one or more removable baskets 72 in each of subchambers 38 and 40 of storage chamber 34. Although baskets 72 can sit directly on and be supported by bottom member 24, it is preferred that each basket 72 have a pair of slide supports 74 associated therewith to allow the user to slide baskets 72 in and out of cabinet 10. Slide supports 74 can be like those commonly utilized for cabinet drawers and have sufficient strength to support baskets 72 and any dirty clothes received therein. Dirty clothes can dropped through top opening 54 into baskets 72 in each of first 38 and second 40 subchambers. When it is desired or necessary to wash the dirty clothes, the user merely slides baskets 72 out of cabinet 10 and dumps the clothes out of baskets 72 for sorting and washing. Baskets 72 can be made out of wood, metal, wicker or a variety of other materials having sufficient strength and durability to function as a removable basket 72. In a preferred embodiment, baskets 72 are made out of a wire mesh or mesh-like material that allows air to circulate through cabinet 10 to ventilate and dry the clothes. Alternatively, the baskets 72 can be provided with vent holes that facilitate air circulation.

In another alternative embodiment, top member 22 removably rests in top opening 54 and is removed therefrom (i.e., in a cookie jar lid format) to allow access to storage chamber 34 to deposit dirty clothes therein. This embodiment would eliminate the need for top hinges 44. In another alternative embodiment, top member 22 is not utilized with cabinet 10 of the present invention. In this embodiment, top opening 54 is left open and the user deposits clothes into storage chamber 34 without the need to raise or remove top member 22 to have access thereto. In yet another alternative embodiment, clothes hamper cabinet 10 of the present invention is incorporated into or with another piece of furniture having its own separate function, such as a book case, storage cabinet, television cabinet or the like. In this configuration, either the upper or lower portion of the combined furniture could be cabinet 10 of the present invention and the other portion provide the separate function. In a further embodiment, cabinet 10 can be provided with doors on the first 16 and/or second 18 side walls to allow access to storage chamber 34, which could be divided into the two subchambers shown or further divided into smaller subchambers by providing a horizontally displaced divider across the middle of first 38 and second 40 subchambers, with the doors on the side providing separate access thereto.

While there are shown and described herein a specific form of the invention, it will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art that the invention is not so limited, but is susceptible to various modifications and rearrangements in design and materials without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. In particular, it should be noted that the present invention is subject to modification with regard to any dimensional relationships set forth herein and modifications in assembly, materials, size, shape, and use. For instance, there are numerous components described herein that can be replaced with equivalent functioning components to accomplish the objectives of the present invention.





 
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