Title:
Adjustable organizer for placement in a motor vehicle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An organizer is adapted for placement in a motor vehicle. The organizer has a case with an opposite pair of sidewalls and a plurality of shelves. The shelves divide the case into a plurality of compartments. The sidewalls are adjustable to allow adjustment of the size of the case. The sidewalls are adjustable to allow adjustment the depth and width of the case. The case has a removable rear barrier arranged to inhibit articles from falling back off at least one of the shelves. The case also has an adjustable height.



Inventors:
Haake, William (Branchville, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/371061
Publication Date:
09/13/2007
Filing Date:
03/09/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
211/195
International Classes:
A47F5/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILKENS, JANET MARIE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
THE LAW OFFICES OF THOMAS L. ADAMS (EAST HANOVER, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. An organizer adapted for placement in a motor vehicle, comprising: a case having an opposite pair of sidewalls and a plurality of shelves, said sidewalls being adjustable to allow adjustment of the size of said case, said shelves dividing said case into a plurality of compartments, said case having a removable rear barrier arranged to inhibit articles from falling back off at least one of said shelves.

2. An organizer according to claim 1 wherein said pair of sidewalls are adjustably interconnected to allow adjustment of the spacing between the sidewalls.

3. An organizer according to claim 1 wherein said pair of sidewalls are adjustable to allow adjustment of the depth of said case.

4. An organizer according to claim 1 wherein said case has an adjustable height.

5. An organizer according to claim 1 wherein said organizer comprises left and right interconnectable modules.

6. An organizer according to claim 5 comprising at least one bridge adapted to interconnect said left and right modules.

7. An organizer according to claim 6 wherein said at least one bridge comprises an article supporting platform.

8. An organizer according to claim 7 wherein said right and left modules each have an inwardly directed cantilevered ledge, said at least one of said bridges spanning said cantilevered ledges on said right and left modules.

9. An organizer according to claim 6 wherein said at least one bridge has a pair of panels and a pair of rails interconnecting said panels, said panels separately connecting to said right and left modules.

10. An organizer according to claim 5 wherein at least some of said shelves of said right module and said left module are pivotally connected to said sidewalls in order to make said left and right modules collapsible.

11. An organizer according to claim 5 wherein the sidewalls are separately associated with corresponding ones of said right and left modules, said shelves being distributed between said right and left modules,

12. An organizer according to claim 11 wherein each of the modules has an uppermost one of said shelves that is removable.

13. An organizer according to claim 11 wherein each of said right and left modules has opposite the sidewall thereof, an inside wall.

14. An organizer according to claim 13 wherein each of said inside walls comprises a plurality of segments pivotally attached to at least some of said shelves of said right and left modules.

15. An organizer according to claim 13 wherein said uppermost one of said shelves is adapted to be attached to said sidewall and said inside wall at an adjustable elevation.

16. An organizer according to claim 15 wherein said uppermost one of said shelves further comprises two legs pivotally attached to said shelf in order to make said uppermost one of said shelves collapsible.

17. An organizer according to claim 13 wherein said left and right modules each comprise an upper removable shelf.

18. An organizer according to claim 17 comprising a detachable barricade for inhibiting articles from falling off either laterally or backwardly from said upper removable shelf, said barricade being attachable to said sidewall and said inside wall of either of said left or right modules.

19. An organizer according to claim 18 wherein said detachable barricade comprises a back partition and two side partitions pivotally attached to said back partition in order to make said detachable barricade collapsible.

20. An organizer according to claim 14 wherein said pivotally attached segments of said inside walls are arranged to support at least some of said shelves.

21. An organizer according to claim 1 wherein at least some of said shelves have a front and rear elevated edge for inhibiting articles from falling off the front or back of said shelves.

22. An organizer according to claim 1 wherein said case comprises a front assembly and a rear assembly that are interconnected, said sidewalls each being split.

23. An organizer according to claim 22 wherein said front and rear assemblies are connected by a pair of spanner plates that are slidably attached to said split sidewalls to allow adjustable spacing between said front and rear assemblies.

24. An organizer according to claim 22 wherein each of said front and said rear assemblies have at least some of said shelves attached thereto.

25. An organizer according to claim 24 wherein at least one aligned pair of said shelves are separately mounted on said front and said rear assemblies with an alignment to allow one to slide at least partially over the other as the spacing between said front and rear assemblies changes.

26. An organizer adapted for placement in a motor vehicle, comprising: a case having an opposite pair of sidewalls and a plurality of shelves, said sidewalls being adjustable to allow adjustment of the depth and width of said case, said shelves dividing said case into a plurality of compartments.

27. An organizer according to claim 26 wherein at least some of said compartments have a rear barrier for inhibiting articles from falling back off of at least one of said shelves.

28. An organizer according to claim 26 wherein said pair of sidewalls are adjustably interconnected to allow adjustment of the spacing between the sidewalls.

29. An organizer according to claim 26 wherein said organizer comprises left and right interconnectable modules.

30. An organizer according to claim 29 comprising at least one bridge adapted to interconnect said left and right modules.

31. An organizer according to claim 30 wherein said at least one bridge comprises an article supporting platform.

32. An organizer according to claim 31 wherein said right and left modules each have an inwardly directed cantilevered ledge, said at least one of said bridges spanning said cantilevered ledges on said right and left modules.

33. An organizer according to claim 26 wherein at least some of said shelves of said right module and said left module are pivotally connected to said sidewalls in order to make said left and right modules collapsible.

34. An organizer according to claim 26 wherein the sidewalls are separately associated with corresponding ones of said right and left modules, said shelves being distributed between said right and left modules.

35. An organizer according to claim 34 wherein each of the modules has an uppermost one of said shelves that is removable.

36. An organizer according to claim 34 wherein each of said right and left modules has an inside wall opposite said sidewall.

37. An organizer according to claim 36 wherein each of said inside walls comprises a plurality of segments pivotally attached to at least some of said shelves of said right and left modules.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to organizers for use in a motor vehicle, and in particular to organizers having a plurality of shelves.

2. Description of Related Art

Automobiles are often used to transport various articles, often in the trunk of the vehicle. In certain common circumstances, many articles may need to be transported and made quickly accessible. When the vehicle is used for traveling, camping, or tailgating, articles of a variety of sizes and weights are transported in a vehicle. However, as the automobile is driven, articles tend to move and shift with the motion of the car, and may become disorganized or damaged as they move around. Thus, there is a need to organize and secure objects during transport. It is also important for heavier objects to be kept separately from lighter, more fragile objects so that damage can be avoided. Further, it is important that certain objects be kept in an upright position to avoid tipping and spilling of contents.

Different types of organizers or dividers have been used in the past for the purpose of maintaining objects in separate compartments so that they remain organized and undamaged. However, these known devices have limited capabilities and are not effective for use in a vehicle.

In U.S. Pat. No. 2,541,702 a storage receptacle is placed in the trunk of an automobile.

In U.S. Pat. No. 5,819,996 a storage structure can be placed in the trunk of an automobile. The structure serves to divide the trunk into several compartments so that the items in a trunk remain organized. It can be adjusted in one direction, and certain dividers can be moved to adjust the size of compartments.

In U.S. Pat. No. 5,772,058 a storage device can be placed in the trunk of a car and can be configured with one, two, or three rows (FIGS. 1, 11, and 13 respectively) that are pivotally attached to one another as shown in FIG. 9 in such a way that the device is can be collapsed into one flat section for storage (FIG. 5). Removable dividers can be placed in the rows in a variety of places such that the size of the individual compartments varies according to where the dividers are placed.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the illustrative embodiments demonstrating features and advantages of the present invention, there is provided an organizer adapted for placement in a motor vehicle. The organizer has a case with an opposite pair of sidewalls and a plurality of shelves. The sidewalls are adjustable to allow adjustment of the size of the case. The shelves divide the case into a plurality of compartments. The case has a removable rear barrier arranged to inhibit articles from falling back off at least one of the shelves.

In accordance with another aspect of the invention an organizer adapted for placement in a motor vehicle has a case with an opposite pair of sidewalls and a plurality of shelves. The sidewalls are adjustable to allow adjustment of the depth and width of the case. The shelves divide the case into a plurality of compartments.

The disclosed organizer is divided into left and right modules, each having an outside wall and an inside wall and a plurality for shelves defining a plurality of compartments. In order to interconnect, the modules have inwardly directed cantilevered ledges spanned by interconnecting bridges, also serving as shelves. These bridges between the modules can be attached to various holes to allow adjustment of the spacing between the modules and thus adjustment of the width of the entire organizer. In one embodiment an adjustable bridge has separate right and left panels slidably mounted on interconnecting rails and connecting to both modules.

Also, the modules have shelves that are hinged to the sidewall in order to make the modules collapsible.

Each module may also have an upper shelf that is detachable from the organizer. When employed, the upper shelf can attach to both the sidewall and an inside wall of a module at a variety of heights. Further, the upper shelf also has a detachable barrier that prevents items from falling off the back and sides of the upper shelf.

An uppermost shelf with a pair of pivotally attached legs can also be attached by these legs to each module at adjustable heights. The legs attach with one to the sidewall and one to the inside wall.

Furthermore, the right and left modules each may be divided into interconnecting front and back sections. In particular, the sides of each module can be split into coplanar front and rear partitions. These coplanar partitions are relatively moveable in such a way that the effective depth of each module can be adjusted. To accommodate the depth adjustment the above mentioned bottom and middle shelves are split as well so that a rear section of the shelf slides over the front section of the shelf as the depth of the organizer changes.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The above brief description as well as other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following detailed description of presently preferred but nonetheless illustrative embodiments in accordance with the present invention when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an organizer according to principles of the present invention, with two modules spanned by three bridges, and with an upper shelf on the right module but not the left module;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the left module of FIG. 1 shown separately but modified to include an upper barrier;

FIG. 3 is a front perspective view of the bottom portion of the left module of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of the left module of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a detailed, fragmentary, exploded view of a bottom spanner plate for interconnecting the right and left modules of FIG. 1;

FIG. 6 is a view of the bridge of FIG. 1 that is supported by interconnecting rails;

FIG. 7 is a front view of the upper shelf as shown on the right module of FIG. 1 with the barrier attached;

FIG. 8 is a front perspective view of an upper shelf suitable for either the right or left module of FIG. 1;

FIG. 9 is a front perspective view of the uppermost shelf shown on the right module of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 10A-10C are perspective views showing the collapsing of shelves and segments of FIG. 1 against the left sidewall.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIG. 1, an organizer is shown having a right and left module, with the left module being shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The left module is shown having a bottom shelf 19 in the form of a flat panel with a thickness of approximately one inch (2.5 cm) although other thicknesses are contemplated. The underside of shelf 19 serves as the base of the organizer, and the topside serves as a shelf for holding articles.

Shelf 19 is essentially rectangular, with the exception of the inside edge (to the right in FIG. 3) where approximately halfway towards the rear of the inside edge a step occurs that makes the shelf narrower. Hinges 65 and 66 attach segment 3 to the inside edge of shelf 19. Hinges 65 and 66 are positioned in such a way that segment 3 can fold counter-clockwise onto the top of shelf 19 for the purpose of storage. The inside edge of shelf 19 is longer than segment 3, which is positioned towards the front of shelf 19. The bottom rear corner of segment 3 coincides with the step on the inside edge of shelf 19.

On the outside edge of shelf 19 (to the left in FIG. 1) there is an upwardly pointing stub 19A. This stub has a height of approximately 1-2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm), and extends across the shelf the same distance as segment 3 on the opposite side. Thus, stub 19A has the same front to back prominence as segment 3.

Shelf 20 is a flat panel approximately one inch (2.5 cm) thick that rests partially on the tail of shelf 19, but is separate from shelf 19. Hinged to shelf 20 on its inside (right) edge is segment 38. Hinges 67 and 68 attach segment 38 to the inside edge of shelf 20 and are positioned such that segment 38 can fold counter-clockwise down onto shelf 20 for storage purposes. Similar to shelf 19, the outside (left) edge of shelf 20 has an upwardly pointing stub 20A of a similar height.

Under the inside (right) edge of shelf 20 is a downwardly pointing leg 20B approximately 1-2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm) tall. Shelf 20 overlaps shelf 19 and is elevated by leg 20B so that the underside of shelf 20 is just above the top surface of shelf 19. The clearance under shelf 20 allows the back of shelf 19 to slide under shelf 20 a variable amount.

Referring again to shelf 19, sidewall 1 is attached onto the stub 19A by hinges 53 and 54. As shown in FIG. 3, sidewall 1 is a rectangular panel with a similar thickness as shelf 19. Sidewall 1 is hinged so that its front edge is even with the front edge of shelf 19, and its rear edge is even with the rear edge of the stub 19A. Sidewall 1 is perpendicular to shelf 19 when the organizer is in use, but can be folded clockwise down onto shelf 19 when the organizer is collapsed.

Approximately halfway up sidewall 1 hinges 57 and 58 are attached between the inside surface of sidewall 1, and the left edge of shelf 23. The hinges are attached to the top of shelf 23, such that when the organizer is collapsed, shelf 23 can fold upwardly against sidewall 1. Shelf 23 is rectangular and extends inward (to the right) further than shelf 19 which is directly below shelf 23. When upright on hinges 65 and 66, segment 3 can act as a subjacent support for shelf 23, since shelf 23 can rest atop segment 3.

The thickness of shelf 23 is uniform, except that the cantilevered portion 15 of the shelf that is further inward (to the right) than segment 3 has about half the thickness of other portion of shelf 23, thereby defining a step. This step occurs in the region where segment 3 supports the underside of shelf 23.

Rectangular segment 4 is shown standing flush in the above-mentioned step in shelf 23 directly above segment 3. Segments 3 and 4 are part of an inside wall opposite sidewall 1. Hinges 61 and 62 are attached to the surface of shelf 23 and to the bottom of segment 4 such that segment 4 can fold down onto cantilevered ledge 15 when the organizer is collapsed.

In FIG. 1 shelf 23 has a notch 23A extending backward from segment 4. This notch has a width larger than the width of segment 38 enabling segment 38 to fit inside the notch when segment 38 stands upright.

In FIG. 3 sidewall 28 is shown attached to stub 20A on the outer edge of shelf 20 by hinges 55 and 56. Sidewall 28 is rectangular except for its beveled top rear corner. Sidewall 28 is hinged so that the front and rear edge of sidewall 28 is even with the front and rear edge, respectively, of shelf 20. Sidewall 28 is perpendicular to shelf 20 when the organizer is in use, but can be folded clockwise down onto shelf 20 when the organizer is collapsed. Sidewall 28 has the same height as sidewall 1. Together sidewalls 1 and 28 may be considered a single split sidewall.

Approximately halfway up sidewall 28 hinges 59 and 60 are attached to the inside surface of sidewall 28, as well as to the top of shelf 24, so that when the organizer is collapsed, shelf 24 can fold upwardly against sidewall 28. Shelf 24 is a flat, rectangular, and extends inward further than shelf 20 which is directly below shelf 24. Previously mentioned lower segment 38 (hinged to the inside edge of shelf 20) can act as a subjacent support for shelf 24, which lies atop segment 38.

FIG. 3 shows upper segment 29 is attached to shelf 24 with hinges 63 and 64. Segment 29 is rectangular, but similar to sidewall 28, has a beveled top rear corner, and is positioned directly above segment 38. Hinges 63 and 64 allow segment 29 to fold down onto cantilevered ledge 27 when the organizer is collapsed.

Shelf 24 and shelf 23 have about the same thickness, however, shelf 24 is attached at a slightly higher elevation than shelf 23 so that as sidewall 28 moves closer to side wall 1 (as the rear portion of the organizer moves closer 10 to the front portion) shelf 24 can slide on top of shelf 23. It follows then that lower segment 38 extends to a slightly higher elevation than segment 3, as segment 38 supports a higher shelf.

In FIG. 2 spanner plate 42 is shown attached to the outside surfaces of sidewall 1 and sidewall 28. In particular, spanner plate 42 connects the front and rear portions of the left module of the organizer and allows sidewall 28 to slide closer to and further from sidewall 1.

Spanner plate 42 is a panel of material approximately one inch (2.5 cm) thick and is largely rectangular in shape except, similar to sidewall 28 and segment 29, for a beveled top rear corner. Slot 52 extends across most of the width of plate 42 at a fixed elevation somewhat more than halfway up. Plate 42 extends to an elevation slightly greater than sidewalls 1 and 28. Protruding from sidewall 1 through slot 52 is a capped threaded stud 51.

Protruding from sidewall 28 through slot 52 is a capped threaded stud 50. As sidewall 28 is moved relative to sidewall 1, changing the depth of the organizer, the separation of studs 50 and 51 change. When studs 50 and 51 reach the ends of slot 52, the organizer has reached its maximum depth.

Referring to FIG. 4, a series of holes 69 are distributed at different elevations on sidewall 1 above shelf 23. Directly across from each of the holes 69 on sidewall 1 is a corresponding pair of holes 70 at the same elevation on segment 4.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, shelf 11 is an uppermost shelf and is shown attached to the left module of the organizer. Shelf 11 is rectangular and has elevated edges 11A on the front, rear, and left sides to prevent articles from falling off. The elevated edges 11A are approximately 2 inches (5.1 cm) high. Two legs 7 and 8 are pivotally attached to the underside of shelf 11. Leg 7 is attached on the left, and leg 8 is attached on the right. When shelf 11 is in use, legs 7 and 8 are vertical and perpendicular to shelf 11, and when not in use, legs 7 and 8 can each fold counterclockwise. Legs 7 and 8 are both of equal size, and are flat, rectangular boards approximately one inch (2.5 cm) thick.

At the bottom of leg 7 is a single hole 75 and at the bottom of leg 8 are a pair of holes 76. With uppermost shelf 11 attached, one of the holes 75 on leg 7 align with one of the holes 69 on sidewall 1, and two of the holes 76 on leg 8 align with a pair of holes 70 on segment 4. Bolts through holes 69, 75 and holes 70, 76 can be used to hold leg 7 and leg 8 in place. The vertical spacing of holes 69 and of holes 70 enables shelf 11 to be attached at a number of different heights.

Referring to FIG. 8, upper removable shelf 39 is a rectangular panel approximately half an inch (1.3 cm) thick. Front lip 40 is a rectangular prism that extends across the front edge of shelf 39, and has a height of approximately one inch (2.5 cm). Lip 40 prevents articles from falling off the front of shelf 39. Lips 41, 44, and 45 are similar rectangular prisms. Lip 45 lays across shelf 39 approximately two thirds of the way towards the rear of the shelf, defining a rear section 46. Lip 44 is attached to the left edge of shelf 39 and extends from lip 45 to approximately six inches (15.2 cm) short of the front of shelf 39. Lip 41 is on the right edge of shelf 39 opposite lip 44, having the same front to back alignment as lip 44. Lip 43 is smaller than lips 40, 41, 44, and 45 and is a rectangular prism having a height of approximately one half inch (1.3 cm). Lip 43 is on the left edge of shelf 39 and extends from the front end of lip 44 and ends approximately one inch (2.5 cm) from lip 40 on the front edge of shelf 39.

Referring to FIGS. 2, 4 and 7, shelf 39 can be installed in three-sided detachable barricade B (also referred to as a barrier). Barricade B has a rear partition 49, an inside partition 47, and an outside partition 48. Each of the partitions is a panel approximately one half inch (1.3 cm) thick. Back partition 49 is rectangular. The height of back partition 49 is approximately one foot (0.3 meter). Inside partition 47 and outside partition 48 are trapezoidal and each has (a) the same height as back partition 49, and (b) a bottom edge that is 1-3 inches (2.5-7.6 cm) longer than the top edge. The back edges of partitions 47 and 48 are slanted. Since back partition 49 is attached to inside partition 47 and outside partition 48, back partition 49 also slants forward.

Outside partition 48 is hinged to the outside edge of back partition 49. Likewise, inside partition 47 is hinged to the inside edge of back partition 49. The side partitions are hinged in such a way that when barrier B is not attached, outside partition 48 and inside partition 47 can fold together towards the center of back partition 49.

Inside partition 47 and outside partition 48 each have a pair of holes 74 and 73 near the bottom edge of either partition. Holes 74 on inside partition 47 can mate with one of the pairs of holes 72 on segment 29, while the pair of holes 73 on outside partition 48 can mate with one of the pairs of holes 71 on sidewall 28. Bolts (not shown) are inserted through the mating holes to install barrier B.

Partition 48 has a vertically spaced pair of rear dowel 48A and a front dowel 48B (FIG. 4). Partition 47 also has a vertically spaced pair of rear dowels 47A (FIG. 2) and a front dowel 47B in positions mirroring the positions of dowels 48A and 48B.

Shelf 39 (FIG. 7) is installed by inserting its rear section 46 between dowels 48A and resting its underside on dowel 48B. The dowels on partition 47 are used in the same way to support shelf 39. The front to shelf 39 can also rests on peg 110 on leg 7 (FIGS. 1 and 4) and peg 110A on leg 8 when shelf 11 is installed. As explained further hereinafter, the right module can be fitted with similar equipment.

In FIG. 4 removable rear barrier 31 serves as a back wall for the left module of the organizer. Backer 31 is rectangular and approximately one quarter inch (0.6 cm) thick. Backer 31 has a width that is equal to the distance between the sidewall 28 and segment 38 (plus wall thicknesses). The height of backer 31 extends between the bottom surface of shelf 20 past shelf 24 to approximately two thirds the height of sidewall 28. Backer 31 can be attached to the rear edge of sidewall 28, segment 38, shelf 20, and segment 29 with screws (not shown).

As shown in FIG. 1, the right module of the organizer is a mirror image of the left module described above. Bottom shelf 21 is a mirror image of shelf 19 where the bottom surface of shelf 21 serves as the base of the organizer, and the top surface serves as a shelf for holding articles. Shelf 21 is rectangular, with the exception of the edge of shelf 21 towards the inside of the organizer. Approximately halfway towards the rear of the inside edge of shelf 21, the shelf becomes narrower at notch 21B.

Similar to segment 3, segment 5 is hinged to the inside edge of shelf 21 and can fold clockwise on top of shelf 21 for the purpose of storage. The depth of shelf 21 is greater than that of segment 5, which is positioned towards the front of shelf 21. The front edge of the notch 21B aligns with the bottom rear corner of segment 5. On the outer edge of shelf 21 there is an upwardly pointing stub 21A that extends back on the shelf the same distance as does segment 5 on the opposite side. Thus, the stub 21A is across from segment 5.

Shelf 22, mirroring shelf 20, is a flat panel that rests partially on the back section of shelf 21. Segment 105 is hinged to the inside edge of shelf 22 such that segment 105 can fold clockwise down onto shelf 22 for storage purposes. Under the inside edge of shelf 22 is a downwardly pointing leg 22B. Shelf 22 is thus elevated slightly above shelf 21. The clearance provided by leg 22B allows the back of shelf 21 to fit under shelf 22. As shelf 22 is moved relative to shelf 21, shelf 22 overlaps shelf 21 a variable amount. Similar to shelf 21, shelf 22 also has an upward pointing stub 22A on the outside edge of approximately 1-2 inches (2.5-5.1 cm).

Referring again to shelf 21, sidewall 2 is hinged to the stub 21A. Sidewall 2, a mirror image of sidewall 1, is a rectangular, flat piece of material with similar thickness as shelf 21. Sidewall 2 is attached with its front edge of sidewall 2 even with the front edge of shelf 21, and its rear edge even with the rear edge of the stub 21A. Sidewall 2 is perpendicular to shelf 21 when the organizer is in use, but can be folded counter clockwise down onto shelf 21 when the organizer is collapsed.

Rectangular shelf 25, a mirror image to shelf 23, is attached by hinges approximately halfway up sidewall 2. When the organizer is collapsed, shelf 25 folds upward onto sidewall 2. Shelf 25 extends inward further than shelf 21, which is directly below shelf 25.

Lower left segment 5 is hinged to the inside edge of shelf 21, and can act as a subjacent support for shelf 25. The thickness of shelf 25 is uniform, except that the portion 16 of the shelf that is further inward than segment 5 has about half of the thickness of the other portion of shelf 25, thus forming a step. Segment 6 (a mirror image of segment 4) stands flush in this step at transition 16/25. Segment 6 is hinged to fold down onto cantilevered ledge 16 when the organizer is collapsed.

The foregoing step in shelf 25 exists along the bottom edge of segment 6. Shelf 25, however, also has notch 25A extending backwardly from segment 6. Notch 25A is substantially identical to notch 23A.

Referring again to shelf 22, sidewall 103 (a mirror image of sidewall 28) is hinged to stub 22A adjacent to the outer edge of shelf 22. Like sidewall 28, sidewall 103 is rectangular except for the beveled top rear corner. Sidewall 103 is perpendicular to shelf 22 when the organizer is in use, but can be folded counter-clockwise down onto shelf 22 when the organizer is collapsed. Sidewall 103 has the same height as sidewall 2. Together sidewalls 2 and 103 may be considered a single split sidewall.

Rectangular shelf 26 is hinged to sidewall 103 approximately halfway up the sidewall, such that when the organizer is collapsed, shelf 26 folds upward onto sidewall 103. Shelf 26 (a mirror image of shelf 241 has a cantilevered ledge 102 that extends inward further than shelf 22, which is directly below shelf 26.

Lower left segment 105 is hinged to the inside edge of shelf 22 to act as a subjacent support for shelf 26. Segment 105 protrudes through slot 25A. Above segment 105 is segment 104 (a mirror image of segment 29), which is rectangular, but like sidewall 103, has a beveled top rear corner. Segment 104 is hinged on shelf 26 to fold down onto its cantilevered ledge 102 when the organizer is collapsed.

Shelf 26 is attached to sidewall 103 at a slightly higher elevation than shelf 25 such that as sidewall 103 moves closer to side wall 2, shelf 26 can slide over shelf 25. It follows then that segment 105 extends to a slightly higher elevation than segment 5, as segment 105 supports a higher shelf.

Attached to the outside of sidewalls 2 and 103 is spanner plate 35 (a mirror image of spanner plate 42) which serves to connect the front and rear portions of the organizer while allowing sidewall 103 to slide relative to sidewall 2. The functionality of this spanner plate is the same as spanner plate 42, and each of sidewalls 2 and 103 have in slot 108 a protruding threaded stud 106 and 107 with a plastic cap.

Sidewalls 103 and 2 and segments 6 and 104 are mirror images of sidewalls 1 and 28 and segments 4 and 29, and they contain complementary mounting holes as described before.

Referring to FIGS. 9 and 1, uppermost shelf 12 can be attached to the right module of the organizer. Shelf 12 (a mirror image of shelf 11) is a rectangular shelf with elevated edges on the front, rear, and right sides to prevent articles from falling off. Two legs 9 and 10 are pivotally attached to the underside of shelf 12. Leg 9 is attached to the left, and leg 10 is attached to the right. When shelf 12 is in use, legs 9 and 10 are vertical and perpendicular to shelf 12, and when not in use, leg 9 and leg 10 can each fold clockwise against shelf 12.

Near the bottom of legs 9 and 10 are a pair of holes 106 and 107, respectively, at the same elevation. Support pegs 9A and 10A are at the lower front corners of legs 9 and 10, respectively. When attachment of uppermost shelf 12 is desired, the pair of holes 106 on leg 9 can be bolted with a pair of holes (not shown) on segment 6, and holes 107 on leg 10 can be bolted with a pair of holes (not shown) on sidewall 2. Shelf 12 can be attached at a number of different heights.

A barrier identical to barrier B (FIG. 7) is shown attached to segment 104 and sidewall 103 in a same manner similar to that previously described for the left module.

Referring to FIG. 1, a backer 109 identical to backer 31 can serve as a back wall for the right module of the organizer, and can be attached to the rear edges of sidewall 103, segment 104, shelf 22, and segment 105.

Referring still to FIG. 1, upper bridge 13 can be attached between uppermost shelf 11 and uppermost shelf 12. Upper bridge 13 is a rectangular supporting platform approximately one inch (2.5 cm) thick with a depth the same as uppermost shelves 11 and 12 and with a row of evenly spaced holes 85. Mounted close to the inside edge of uppermost shelf 11 is a single bolt 83A, while close to the inside edge of uppermost shelf 12 is a single bolt 84A for attaching bridge 13. Holes 85 allow shelves 11 and 12 to be attached to upper bridge 13 with a variety of separations, essentially making the effective length of upper bridge 13 adjustable.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 6, middle bridge 14 can span the two modules of the organizer. In FIG. 6, middle bridge 14 sits atop of the top edges of segments 4, 29, 6, and 104. The top edge of each of the elements 4, 29, 6, and 104 segments has a hole. The underside of middle bridge 14 has stubs (not shown) that align with these holes in order to hold the bridge 14 in place. Bridge 14 has two pairs of panels (panels 92 and 93 and panels 94 and 95) and one pair of interconnecting rails 86 and 87. Front left shelf 92 sits atop segment 4, back left shelf 93 sits atop segment 29, front right shelf 95 sits atop wall 6, and back right shelf 94 sits atop segment 104. Each of the four shelves is approximately one half inch (1.3 cm) thick, and rectangular.

Front shelves 92 and 95 are at the same elevation and are connected to each other by rail 87. Rail 87 is a rectangular prism with a height and width of approximately one inch (2.5 cm). Rail 87 is slidably attached to the underside of front left shelf 92, and front right shelf 95 in a manner that allows shelves 92 and 95 to transversely slide closer or further from each. Back shelves 93 and 94 are at the same elevation and are connected to each other with rail 86. Rail 86 is substantially the same in shape as rail 87, and is slidably attached to the underside of back left shelf 93 and back right shelf 94 in a manner that allows shelves 93 and 94 to transversely slide closer or further from each other.

Front shelves 95 and 92 are slidably connected to back shelves 93 and 94, respectively. In particular, front shelves 95 and 92 are at a slightly higher elevation than back shelves 93 and 94, allowing the front shelves to slide over the back ones as the depth of the organizer is adjusted.

Lip 91 extends across the front edge of front left shelf 92. Lip 91 is a rectangular prism with a height of approximately one inch (2.5 cm). Similarly, lip 88 extends across the front edge of front right shelf 95. Also, lip 89 extends across the back edge of back right shelf 94, and lip 90 extends across the back edge of back left shelf 93. Lips 91, 88, 89, and 90 are identical in shape.

Referring again to FIGS. 1 and 4, lower bridge 17 can span the two modules of the organizer. In particular, lower bridge 17 sits atop the aforementioned cantilevered ledges 15, 27, 16, and 102. Each cantilevered ledge has a single row of holes a fixed distance from the front edge of the cantilevered ledge. Cantilevered ledge 15 has column of holes 78 and cantilevered ledge 27 has column of holes 77. Cantilevered ledges 16 and 102 each have similar columns of holes.

Lower bridge 17 has two shelves, front shelf 33 and rear shelf 32. Both shelves 32 and 33 are rectangular and have a thickness of approximately one half inch (1.3 cm). The depth of rear shelf 32 is approximately twice that of front shelf 33. The right to left dimension of these shelves is the same. Rectangular lip 81 extends across the front edge of front shelf 33, and rectangular lip 82 extends across the back edge of back shelf 32.

Using bolt holes 79, 101, 80, 100, shelf 17 is bolted at its four corners to a selected one of the holes in each of the ledges 15, 27, 16, and 102. Since the back cantilevered ledges 27 and 102 are slightly more elevated than front cantilevered ledges 15 and 16, back shelf 32 is slightly more elevated than front shelf 33, and back shelf 32 can overlap front shelf 33 a variable amount as the depth of the organizer is adjusted.

In some embodiments cantilevered ledges 15 and 16 may be eliminated and bridging shelf 17 and be installed in slots in upright elements 3, 38, 5, and 105. In such an embodiment a small ledge may be incorporated under the some of the slots so that the bridging shelf and be fastened thereto. Also, in some embodiments the bridging shelf may have a front fence that it extends into the region of the left and right modules. This fence can attach that to a mating fence on shelves in those modules.

Referring to FIGS. 3 and 5, post 30 projects from the back of left module, near the bottom rear corner of segment 38. Post 30 is a rectangular block extending approximately six inches (15.2 cm) towards the center of the organizer. Screw 96 projects from atop post 30 near its distal end. Another similar post 36 projecting inwardly from the back of the right module adjacent to the bottom rear corner of segment 105, extends towards post 30. Screw 97 projects from atop post 36 near its distal end.

Width control 34 is rectangular plate approximately twelve inches (30 cm) long. The left edge of width control 34 has notch 98 that is approximately five inches (13 cm) long. The right edge of width control has a notch 99 that is approximately five inches (13 cm) long. The heads of protruding screws 96 and 97 are both larger than notches 98 and 99 such that they can be slid into the notches, tightened and locked into them.

To facilitate an understanding of the principles associated with the foregoing apparatus, its operation will be briefly described. With the structure just described, the organizer is adjustable in three different dimensions. First, the width, or total distance between the sidewalls 1, 28 of the left module and the sidewalls 2, 103 of the right module can be varied. As shown in FIG. 1, the left and right modules of the organizer are linked by three bridges 13, 14, and 17, and a width control 34 (FIG. 5).

The organizer is typically placed in the back of a motor vehicle, for example, the back of a mini-van. The user may then wish to adjust the width of the organizer (typically by widening the organizer) to accommodate the space in the vehicle. Therefore, upper bridge 13 and lower bridge 17 are removed, and the width control screws 96, 97 loosened. With the left and right modules free to move the organizer width can be adjusted to fill the space available.

Next, upper bridge 13 is reattached with bolt 83A through a different one of the holes 85 on upper bridge 13. Similarly, bolt 84A can be reinserted though another one of the holes 85 on upper bridge 13 (although in some cases only bolt 83A will be repositioned). Lower bridge 17 must also be repositioned. Specifically, front section 33 is bolted through its hole 79 to a different one of the holes 78 on cantilevered ledge 15. Similarly, hole 101 is bolted to one of the holes in cantilevered ledge 16. Likewise hole 80 is bolted to another one of the holes 77 in ledge 27, and hole 100 is bolted to one of the holes in ledge 102, as well.

Since there are a fixed number of bolt holes on cantilevered ledges 15 and 16 (as well as on bridge 13) the total width of the organizer is adjustable in increments to accommodate these holes.

In addition, the protruding screws 96 and 97 on width control 34 must be tightened to keep hold posts 30 and 36 at a fixed position in relation to width control 34.

When adjusting the width of the organizer, no changes need to be made to middle bridge 14. The right and left sides of this bridge can slide on interconnecting rails 86 and 87 without unfastening this bridge.

The height of uppermost shelves 11 and 12 can also be varied. As previously mentioned, shelf 11 is supported by legs 7 and 8. Leg 7 has a bolt hole 75 (FIG. 4), fitted in FIG. 1 with a bolt 75A attached to one of the bolt holes 69. Segment 4 has plurality of pairs of bolt holes 70 across from the holes on sidewall 1 that are adapted to bolt to the bolt holes 76 (FIG. 4) of leg 8. The height of shelf 11 is adjusted by using appropriate ones of the bolt holes 69, 70. Shelf 12 is adjustable in the same manner that shelf 11 is adjustable. Shelf 11 and shelf 12 are both independently adjustable, such that these shelves can be fixed at the same height, or different heights as desired. In addition, either one or both of these shelves can be removed as desired. In order to attach upper bridge 13 however, both shelves 11 and 12 must be attached at the same height.

It will be appreciated that adjusting the height of shelf 11 will adjust the height of peg 110 (FIGS. 1 and 4) on leg 7 and the height of the corresponding peg 110A on leg 8. This peg height will affect the elevation of an upper shelf placed thereupon (shelf 39 of FIGS. 7 and 8). For this reason, the height of any barrier B ((FIG. 7) placed on elements 28 and 29 must be adjusted to make their pegs 48A and 48B consistent with the height of peg 110.

Referring to FIGS. 1, 4 and 8, the height of barrier B is adjusted by aligning bolt holes 73, 74 (FIG. 4) with a selected set of bolt holes 71, 72 on wall 28 and segment 29. (Similarly the height of duplicate barrier B on wall 103 and segment 104 can be adjusted by using different bolt holes.) Adjusting the height of barrier B adjusts the height of pegs 48A and 48B on panel 48 (and the corresponding pegs on panel 47). According the height of upper shelf 39 will be likewise adjusted.

As previously mentioned, an organizer would typically include two identical upper shelves 39, one in the left module, and one in the right module.

The depth of the organizer can also be adjusted. To adjust the depth of the organizer only four bolts need be loosened. No other parts need be loosened or disconnected, even when every possible shelf and bridge is employed. On the left module, the back lower shelf 20, is slightly higher than the front lower shelf 19. Similarly, rear middle shelf 24 is slightly higher than shelf 23. These different elevations allow the shelf segments to freely slide to accommodate different depths.

The right module, a mirror image of the left module, also employs rear shelves 22, 26, which are slightly higher than their forward counterparts 21, 25 to allow the same depth adjustment. Also, the notches 23A and 25A enable segments 29 and 104 to slide forward or backward within the notches. Lower bridge 17 also includes a back section 32 that can overlap the front section 33 a variable amount as depth decreases. Middle bridge 14 has front shelves 92 and 95 which are slightly higher than their rear counterparts, shelf sections 93 and 94.

When assembled, the organizer has various uses. As mentioned above, the organizer is adjustable in depth, height, and width. Since vehicles have trunks of many different sizes, this organizer's adjustability enables the organizer to fit into various trunks. Also, some families own more than one vehicle, and this adjustability enables the organizer to fit into the trunk of whichever vehicle one wishes to use on an occasion. Another advantage is when a new vehicle is purchased, the exact size of the trunk need not be of concern. As long as the trunk of any vehicle is large enough for the organizer to fit when adjusted to its smallest size, then the organizer can be adjusted to fit in the trunk as desired.

The organizer can be used in the trunk of a van or mini-van. These vehicles have one or more rows of seats, ahead of a cargo area. For comfort, the back of the seats are often tilted backward so that a person can lean back at a certain angle while sitting. As previously discussed, the rear top corners of sidewalls 28 and 103, as well as segments 29 and, 104 are all bevelled. This enables the organizer to fit close to or up against the back row of tilted seats in this type of cargo area. Since the organizer will be capable of fitting closer to the seats, more organizer space would be available by adjusting the depth of the organizer, creating more shelf space on the organizer.

The organizer may be used to transport many items for various purposes or activities. Activities where a user might find the organizer highly useful and convenient might include shopping, traveling, camping, or tailgating. In addition, many people employed in the various fields of construction and home maintenance such as plumbers, electricians, landscapers, and the like need to carry many different supplies and tools from place to place. All these activities require the ability to store articles in an organized fashion so that when one article is needed, it is easily accessible, and easy to find. In addition, there is a desire to keep these types of articles separated so that they do not damage other articles. Many times fragile or expensive items are transported, so separation would be of great importance.

One specific example where the organizer would be highly useful is for family travel. If a family were to take a long driving trip with multiple stops, it would be desirable to have a storage device where their various personal items are easy to access. In such an endeavor, the bottom shelves, 19, 20, 21, and 22, would be good places to fit the families backpacks or small pieces of luggage. For larger suitcases that do not fit in these locations, shelves 23, 24, 25, and 26 could also serve this purpose. These latter shelves have more overhead space for storing larger items.

The bottom shelves 19, 20, 21, and 22 are also good places to store winter clothing items that might not need to be worn while traveling in the car, but would need to be worn outside. Heavy coats could fit on these shelves.

Often, while traveling, it is desirable for various reasons to bring food along in the car instead of purchasing it at various establishments along the way. Often food items need to be kept cool. If middle bridge 14 is removed, a cooler could be placed on lower bridge 17. As previously stated bridge 17 has elevated rims 81, 82 in the front and back which would keep the cooler from falling off the shelf.

A car repair kit, or first-aid kit also may be desired for travel, and inserting either one of the upper removable shelves 39 would be convenient. Often, travelers find it bothersome to pack various pairs of shoes in suitcases or other luggage because they take up too much space. Uppermost shelves 11, 12, and upper bridge 13, would provide space for storage of several pairs of shoes, which would not be uncommon for a long trip. Uppermost shelves 11 and 12 also have an elevated rim around them so that the shoes would stay in place on the shelves, and not fall onto other items on the organizer. Finally, often blankets, pillows, or other comfort items are taken on this kind of trip. The space under lower bridge 17 would have room for many of these items.

This is of course one potential use of the organizer, but anytime various items need to be transported, kept organized, and easily accessible, this organizer would prove useful.

Collapsing the organizer can be accomplished by first removing upper shelves 39. As stated, these shelves sit on pegs that protrude out of the various legs and barrier walls (that is, pegs 110, 110A, 9A, 10A of FIG. 1 and pegs 48A and 48B of FIG. 4.) To remove these shelves 39 an upward force is applied under the front edge, and the shelves will lift off of the pegs easily. The shelves 39 can be pulled out of the front of the organizer, and placed elsewhere.

Next, upper bridge 13 can be detached. To accomplish this, bolts 83A and 84A are loosened and removed. Once unbolted, upper bridge 13 will no longer be held against the undersides of uppermost shelves 11 and 12 and can then be removed and placed aside.

Next uppermost shelves 11 and 12 are removed. As discussed, uppermost shelf 11 is supported by legs 7 and 8. The bolt 75A in hole 75 in leg 7 and hole 69 on sidewall 1 is removed in order to release leg 7 as well as the corresponding bolts (not shown) in holes 76 of leg 8 and holes 70 in segment 4. Once both leg 7 and leg 8 are released, then uppermost shelf 11 can be removed. For storage, legs 7 and 8 fold counter clockwise onto the underside of shelf 11. Similarly, uppermost shelf 12 is supported by legs 9 and 10. Holding leg 9 in place are bolts (not shown) through holes 106 into a pair of holes (not shown) on segment 6. Holding leg 10 in place are similar bolts that go through hole 107 into a pair of holes (not shown) on sidewall 2. All these bolts must be removed in order to release legs 9 and 10 so that uppermost shelf 12 can be removed. For storage, legs 9 and 10 fold clockwise onto the underside of shelf 12.

The two barriers B can now be removed. On the left module, barrier B (FIG. 4) is held in place by bolts that go through (a) holes 73 on left wall 48, and holes 71 on segment 28; and (b) holes 74 on right wall 47, and holes 72 on segment 29. Once unbolted, right barrier 47 and left barrier 48 fold back towards the center of back barrier 49, so barrier 20 can be folded flat and set aside. Releasing barrier B on the right module is accomplished in the same manner as releasing barrier B on the left module, before being folded the same way for storage.

Middle bridge 14 can be removed next. As mentioned previously, bridge 14 has underlying pegs that fit into matching holes in elements 4, 29, 6, and 104. Accordingly, bridge 14 is simply lifted and removed. Bridge 17 sits on top of the ledges 15, 27, 16, and 102, each having multiple holes for bolting to the holes 79, 80, 100, 101 on bridge 14. Once unbolted sections 32 and 33 of bridge 17 can be removed and set aside.

The final piece which is connecting the right and left modules is back width control 34. This piece can be removed by loosening aforementioned screws 96 and 97. Once loosened, the left and right modules need only to be moved apart a short distance until the protruding screws are no longer positioned inside notches 98 and 99 on width control 34. Width control 34 can also be removed by sliding screws 96 and 97 out of notches 94 and 98. Width control 34 is then released, and can be set aside.

Referring to FIG. 4, backer 31, connected to the rear of the left module can then be removed. As previously mentioned, backer 31 would be fixed by screws (not shown) holding it against the rear edges of shelf 20, segment 38, segment 29, shelf 24, and sidewall 28. A backer 109 on the right module can be removed in the same manner and set aside.

At this point, the left and right modules are no longer connected to each other, and both can be collapsed. FIGS. 10A, 10B, and 10C depict the front section of the left module, however, the rear portion of this module is folded up in the same manner. Segment 4 may be folded clockwise down onto cantilevered ledge 15. (Similarly, segment 29 must be folded clockwise down onto cantilevered ledge 27.) Next shelf 23 is tilted in a counter clockwise direction such that segment 3 no longer touches the underside of shelf 23. Segment 3 may then be immediately folded counter clockwise onto the top of shelf 19. (Shelf 24 can then be tilted counterclockwise so that segment 38 no longer touches the underside of shelf 24, and segment 38 can then be folded counterclockwise onto the surface of shelf 20.)

As shown in FIG. 10B, shelves 23 and 19 are folded counter clockwise until they are against the inside surface of sidewall 1. (Shelves 24 and 20 are then folded counter clockwise until they are against the right surface of sidewall 28.) Once these steps are accomplished, these pieces should be nearly flat, as illustrated in FIG. 10C, for easy and convenient storage. The right module, being a mirror image of the left module, can fold up similarly to the left module.

In order to reassemble the organizer, the steps for disassembly should be accomplished in reverse order.

It is appreciated that various modifications may be implemented with respect to the above described, preferred embodiment. The above shelves, sidewalls, segments, and bridges can be made of wood, plastic, or any other material desired. Depending on the user, the goals in selecting a material for the organizer can be cost, weight, durability, visual pleasure, and sturdiness. The same material need not be used for the entire organizer. Perhaps the left and right modules can be made of different materials, depending on the uses that the owner would have for each. Also, the top shelves might be made of lighter material for holding lighter objects, while the bottom shelves and supports might be chosen for sturdiness and durability.

The devices used to attach the various pieces can also be varied. As previously mentioned, a nut and bolt device will accomplish this task, however, other devices can be used. Pins or dowels-might be used to obtain similar results.

The design of the organizer might also be varied using other well known devices. Hooks can be added to shelves or any of the walls where desired which would enable the hanging of items. A net might be placed over the front or back sides of the organizer to eliminate the chance of items falling forward or backward off of the shelves. The shelves might also be slightly angled or rims other than the aforementioned might also be added to certain shelves to accomplish the same effect. Bungee chords or similar devices might be used to hold the organizer in place in the trunk, or such chords might also be used to keep items in place on the various shelves. Moreover, the organizer might also comprise more or fewer shelves than mentioned above.

Obviously, many modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.