Title:
Reconfigurable Storage System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage system comprises a base unit, one or more self supports, a drawer assembly, and one or sore stops. The base unit includes a pair of opposing sidewalls. The one or more shelf supports are adapted to be removably carried by the opposing sidewalls to define one or more storage locations. The drawer assembly includes a base shelf and a drawer slidably carried by the base shelf. The base shelf is configured to be removably supported on the shelf supports within the one or more storage locations. The one or more stops are adapted to be removably carried by the opposing sidewalls opposite the base shelf from the shelf supports. Thus, the stops retain the base shelf in engagement with the shelf supports even when the drawer is loaded and pulled partially out of the base unit during use.



Inventors:
Utz, Zachary (North Canton, OH, US)
Nicholls, Michael (Cuyahoga Falls, OH, US)
Yankello, Joseph (Copley, OH, US)
Marchetta, Anthony (Broadview Heights, OH, US)
Warner, Rob (Akron, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/733546
Publication Date:
10/16/2008
Filing Date:
04/10/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/301, 312/334.44
International Classes:
A47B57/00; A47B88/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20030141792Fastening device for end plate of a drawerJuly, 2003Domenig et al.
20080174219REFRIGERATOR, DOOR FOR REFRIGERATOR, AND DISPENSING APPARATUS FOR REFRIGERATORJuly, 2008Kim et al.
20080174214Storage Closet Having Frame and Soft Sided Storage UnitJuly, 2008Segall et al.
20020089268Control consoleJuly, 2002Gosling
20040172964Housing for a refrigeratorSeptember, 2004Brachert et al.
20080074014COLLAPSIBLE DESKMarch, 2008Wen-te HO.
20030001471Door bracketJanuary, 2003Libby et al.
20090267461DEVICE FRONT PANELOctober, 2009Salloum et al.
20090184612DOUBLE BENCH WITH CABINETJuly, 2009Mcclure
20060022563Door locking handle assembly with in-cabinet unlocking machanismFebruary, 2006Huruoka
20090273262EJECTOR OF A MOVEABLE FURNITURE PARTNovember, 2009Brustle



Primary Examiner:
ROHRHOFF, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Newell Operating Co. c/o Moore & Van Allen PLLC (Charlotte, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A storage system, comprising: a base unit having a pair of opposing, sidewalls; a shelf support removably carried by the opposing sidewalls; a drawer assembly configured to be removably supported by the shelf support; and a stop removably carried by at least one of the pair of sidewalls and engaging the drawer assembly to limit displacement of the drawer assembly relative to the shelf support.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the stop is removably carried by one of the opposing sidewalls at a location immediately opposite the drawer assembly from the shelf support.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the stop comprises a cam body and a lug, the cam body defining a stop surface adapted to cammingly engage the drawer assembly, and the lug adapted to be removably disposed within a bore defined by one of the opposing sidewalls.

4. The system of claim 3, wherein the cam body is disposed eccentric to the lug of the stop.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the stop comprises a first stop and a second stop removably carried by opposing bores in the opposing sidewalls.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein the drawer assembly comprises a base shelf supported on the shelf support and engaged by the locking cam.

7. The system of claim 6, wherein the drawer assembly further comprises a drawer carried by the base shelf for sliding displacement relative to the base unit.

8. The system of claim 7, wherein the drawer assembly further comprises a guide-rail assembly slidably connecting the drawer to the base shelf.

9. The system of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of shelf supports removably carried by the base unit to define a plurality of storage locations.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the drawer assembly and the stop are interchangeable between the plurality of storage locations.

11. A storage system, comprising: a pair of opposing sidewalls including a plurality of shelf bores and at least one stop bore; at least one shelf support including a support surface and a lug, the lug removably disposed within one of the plurality of shelf bores; a drawer assembly including a base shelf in engagement with the support surface of the at least one shelf support and a drawer supported for sliding displacement relative to the base shelf; and at least one stop having a lug and a body, the lug rotatably disposed in the at least one stop bore in the sidewalls and the body engaging the base shelf of the drawer assembly at a location that is opposite the base shelf from the at least one shelf support.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the body is disposed eccentric to the lug of the at least one stop.

13. The system of claim 11, wherein the stop comprises a first stop and a second stop carried by opposing bores in the opposing sidewalls.

14. The system of claim 11, wherein the drawer assembly further comprises a guide-rail assembly slidably connecting the drawer to the base shelf.

15. The system of claim 11, further comprising a plurality of shelf supports defining a plurality of storage locations.

16. The system of claim 15, wherein the drawer assembly and the stop are interchangeable between the plurality of storage locations.

17. A method of configuring storage system, the method comprising: attaching one or more shelf supports to opposing sidewalls of a base unit; disposing a drawer assembly in engagement with the one or more shelf supports; and attaching at least one stop to at least one of the opposing sidewalls of the base unit and in engagement with the drawer assembly at a location opposite from at least one of the one or more shelf supports, thereby securing the drawer assembly in engagement with the one or more shelf supports.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein disposing a drawer assembly in engagement with the one or more shelf supports comprises disposing a base shelf of the drawer assembly in direct engagement with the one or more shelf supports, thereby supporting the drawer assembly within the base unit.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein attaching at least one stop to at least one of the opposing sidewalls of the base unit comprises inserting a lug of the at least one stop into one of a plurality of stop bores defined by the opposing sidewalls.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein attaching at least one stop to at least one of the opposing sidewalls of the base unit further comprises rotating a cam body of the at least one stop into camming engagement with the base shelf of the drawer assembly.

21. The method of claim 20, wherein rotating a cam body of the at least one stop comprises eccentrically rotating the cam body relative to the lug of the at least one stop.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to storage systems and, more particularly, to reconfigurable storage systems.

BACKGROUND

Custom-built storage systems such as closet organizer systems and accessories are generally available to consumers. One conventional custom storage system is available in wood. Wood systems typically comprise a plurality of upstanding sidewalls, one or more shelves, one or more drawers, one or more clothes rods, and/or other accessories supported between the sidewalls. During installation, the installer and/or consumer decides how to configure each of the accessories relative to the sidewalls and thereafter, rigidly secures them in place. Securement is typically achieved with support brackets, screws, nuts, bolts, and other permanent-type fastening devices that require tools for assembly.

While conventional custom wood storage systems effectively serve their organizational purposes, one drawback includes the inability to easily re-configure the accessories subsequent to the initial installation. For example, with the conventional wood storage system mentioned above, an individual must implement various tools to disassemble the organizer system and thereafter, re-assemble the system in the new configuration. Therefore, some consumers may require the assistance of a trades person such as a carpenter or other handy-man to re-configure the storage system. Reconfiguring conventional wood storage systems is time-consuming, as well potentially as costly. Furthermore, for conventional wood storage systems that are assembled with screws, for example, disassembling and reassembling the system in various configurations may not be desirable as doing so may compromise the structural integrity of the system. More specifically in one situation, the repeated threading and unthreading of a screw or other fastener into a particular hole in the wood system may begin to deteriorate the wood adjacent the hole. Accordingly, the hole would eventually fail to securely retain the screw or other fastener and the consumer would have to attach the screw or other fastener at a different location. However, repeatedly securing the screw into different locations of the wood, for example, can also eventually compromise the structural integrity of the wood, and therefore the entire organizer system.

SUMMARY

One aspect of the present disclosure provides a reconfigurable storage system. The storage system generally comprise a pair of sidewalls, a plurality of shelf supports a plurality of storage accessories, and a stop assembly. The plurality of shelf supports are removably carried by the sidewalls. Each of the plurality of storage accessories is interchangeable between each of the plurality of shelf supports. The stop assembly is also removably carried by at least one of the pair of opposing sidewalls. The stop assembly is adapted to releasably engage at least a first storage accessory of the plurality of storage accessories to limit displacement of the first storage accessory relative to the opposing sidewalls.

According to another aspect, the stop assembly comprises a pair of manually operable stops. Each stop is rotatable into engagement with the first storage accessory. In one embodiment, the stops comprise stop surfaces adapted to cammmingly engage the first storage accessory.

According to another aspect the first storage accessory comprises a drawer slidably disposed on a shelf the shelf is removably supported on the plurality of shelf supports and engaged by the stop assembly.

According to another aspect, the plurality of storage accessories comprises a second storage accessory comprising a shelf.

According to another aspect, the plurality of storage accessories comprises a second storage accessory including an inclined shoe shelf.

According to another aspect, the plurality of storage accessories comprises a second storage accessory comprising a cabinet.

Another aspect of the present disclosure provides a reconfigurable storage system comprising a base unit, a first storage accessory, a second storage accessory, and a locking device assembly. The base unit defines a plurality of storage locations. The first storage accessory is adapted to be removably supported adjacent the plurality of storage locations. The second storage accessory is adapted to be removably supported adjacent the plurality of storage locations. The first and second storage accessories are interchangeable among the plurality of storage locations. The locking device assembly is carried by the base unit and is manually operable to limit displacement of at least one of the first and second storage accessories relative to the base unit.

Yet another aspect of the present disclosure provides a method of configuring a storage system. The method generally comprises inserting a first plurality of shelf supports into a plurality of bores disposed at a first height in opposing sidewalls of a base unit. Next, a plurality of locking cams are inserted into a plurality of bores disposed at a second height in opposing side-walls of the base unit. Thereafter, a first storage accessory is disposed in engagement with the first plurality of shelf supports. The first storage accessory is removably supported by the first plurality to shelf supports. Then, a plurality of steps are rotated relative to the opposing sidewalls and into engagement with the first storage accessory. Rotation of the stops into engagement with the first storage accessory secures the first storage accessory in engagement with the first plurality of shelf supports.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of one embodiment of a reconfigurable storage system constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of one storage accessory comprising a drawer assembly constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure;

FIG. 3 is a partially exploded rear perspective view of the reconfigurable storage system of FIG. 1 comprising the drawer assembly of FIG. 2 and a portion of a sidewall;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a stop constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a shelf support constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIG. 1 depicts one embodiment of a storage system 100 constructed in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure. The storage system 100 generally comprises a base unit 102 and a plurality of storage accessories 104. In the disclosed embodiment, the plurality of storage accessories 104 comprises a shelf 104a, a drawer assembly 104b, and a shoe shelf assembly 104c. The base unit 102 removably supports the storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c such that a consumer or other individual can easily and quickly reconfigure the storage system 100559 by repositioning the storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c relative to the base unit 102 and/or substituting one or more of the storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c with a different storage accessory 104a, 104b, 104c.

The disclosed base unit 102 generally comprises a pair of opposing sidewalls 106. However, alternate base units 102 may comprise other components such as rear walls, base plates, etc. for increasing the structural integrity of the system 100. As shown in FIG. 2, the sidewalls 106 include inner surfaces 106a and outer surfaces 106b. The inner surfaces 106a define a plurality of front bores 108 and a plurality of rear bores 110. The front bores 108 are disposed along a forward portion of the inner surface 106a of the sidewalls 106. The rear bores 110 are disposed along a rearward portion of the inner surface 106b of the sidewalls 106. The disclosed embodiment of the sidewalls 106 comprises twice as many rear bores 110 as front bores 108. More specifically, the rear bores 110 comprises a plurality of rear shelf bores 109 and a plurality of stop bores 111, while the front bores 108 comprise only front shelf bores 108. Corresponding front and rear shelf bores 107, 109 are disposed at approximately the same height relative to the sidewalls 106, while the stop bores 111 are alternatingly disposed between the rear shelf bores 109. Therefore, one stop bore 111 is disposed slightly above each rear shelf bore 109, but below the next adjacent rear shelf bore 109. For example, as depicted in FIG. 1, front shelf bore 108a corresponds to rear bore 109a, i.e., front bore 108a and rear bore 109a are disposed at approximately the same height relative to the sidewalls 106. Additionally, stop bore 111b is disposed adjacent to and slightly above the rear shelf bore 109a. As will be described in greater detail, this configuration of the front and rear bores 108, 110 enables appropriate securement of one or more storage accessories 104 within the base unit 102.

Referring back to FIG. 1, the storage system 100 further comprises a plurality of shelf supports 112 and a plurality of stops 114. While FIG. 1 only illustrates six shelf supports 112 and one stop 114 disposed in the foremost sidewall 106, it should be appreciated that six additional shelf supports 112 and one additional stop 114 are similarly disposed in the other sidewall 106. The plurality of shelf supports 112 are carried by the sidewalls 106 of the base unit 102 for removably supporting the storage accessories 104. More specifically, as depicted in FIG. 5, each shelf support 112 comprises a generally L-shaped body including a vertical portion 116 and a horizontal portion 118. The horizontal portion 118 comprises a support surface 120, a primary lug 122, and a secondary lug 124. The vertical portion 116 comprises a stop surface 126 and a positioning lug 128. So configured, the positioning lug 128 is adapted to be removably disposed in any one of the front and rear shelf bores 108, 109 of the sidewalls 106. Similarly, the primary and secondary lugs 122, 124 are adapted to be removably disposed in bores formed in any of the storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c to removably support the storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c within the base unit 102, which will be described in more detail.

With reference to FIG. 4, each of the stops 114 comprises a cam body 130 and a lug 132. In the disclosed embodiment, the cam body 130 comprises a generally oval side profile and includes opposing first and second stop surfaces 134, 136, opposing first and second grip surfaces 138, 140, and opposing first and second side surfaces 142, 144. The lug 132 comprises a generally cylindrical body extending generally perpendicularly from the second side surface 144 of the cam body 130. More specifically, as depicted in FIG. 4, the lug 132 extends from a location on the second side surface 144 that is closer to the first stop surface 134 of the cam body 130. So configured, the lug 132 is eccentrically disposed relative to the cam body 130. The lugs 132 of the stops 114 are adapted to be removably disposed within the stop bores 111 of the rear bores 110 formed on the inner surfaces 106a of the sidewalls 106. Therefore, the stops 114 are adapted to be manually manipulated for securing one or more of the storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c within the base unit 102, as will be described.

With reference back to FIG. 1, each of the storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c is removably supported within the base unit 102 with four shelf supports 112. For example, with respect to the drawer assembly 104b, one shelf support 112 is disposed within a predetermined front shelf bore 108a and a corresponding rear shelf bore 109a in each of the sidewalls 106. Accordingly, the shelf supports 112 removably support the storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c within the base unit 102. Furthermore, two stops 114 are disposed in predetermined stop bores 111a of the sidewalls 106. The predetermined stop bores 11 la receiving the stops 114 are disposed adjacent to the drawer assembly 104b to retain the drawer assembly 104b within the base unit 102, as will be described in more detail. However, it should be appreciated that additional stops 114 may be similarly implemented for the other storage accessories 104 including the shelf 104a and the shoe shelf assembly 104c, if desired.

As mentioned, the plurality of storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c include a shelf 104a, a drawer assembly 104b, and a shoe shelf assembly 104c. Each storage accessory 104a, 104b, 104c comprises a base shelf 146. Accordingly, the shelf 104a comprises only the base shelf 146. Additionally, in the disclosed form, the shoe shelf assembly 104c comprises a stud support 148, and inclined storage shelf 150, and a toe plate 152. The inclined storage shelf 150 is adapted to support shoes on an angle to facilitate presentation. The toe plate 152 is adapted to prevent the shoes from sliding off of the inclined storage shelf 150. In the disclosed embodiment the inclined storage shelf 150 is disposed at an angle of approximately thirty degrees (30°) relative to the base shelf 146 of the shoe shelf assembly 104c. However, it should be appreciated that the inclined storage shelf 150 may disposed at generally any angle relative to the base shelf 146 for displaying shoes to be readily identified by a user.

With reference to FIGS. 2 and 3, the drawer assembly 104b comprises the base shelf 146, a drawer 154, and a guide-rail 156. The base shelf 146 is identical to the other base shelves 146 depicted in FIG. 1 and comprises a generally flat shelf having a width dimension Ws that is generally identical to a dimension between the sidewalls 106 of the base unit 102 depicted in FIG. 1. The drawer 154 comprises a face board 158, a pair of side boards 160, a rear board 162, a bottom board 164, and a handle 166. Each of the components of the drawer 154 are fixed together with adhesive, threaded fasteners, dove-tail construction, staples, and/or any other foreseeable means. The face board 158, side boards 160, rear board 162, bottom board 164, and handle 166 cooperatively define a storage cavity 168 within the drawer 154. The storage cavity 168 is adapted to removably store personal articles such as clothing, tools, office supplies, kitchen supplies, and/or any other article that a consumer may desire. In the disclosed embodiment, the face board 158 comprises a pair of through-holes 170 adapted to receive threaded fasteners (not shown) for securing the handle 166 to the drawer 154. As depicted in FIG. 2, the drawer 154 comprises a width dimension Wd measured between the external surfaces of the side boards 160. The width dimension Wd of the drawer is less than the width dimension Ws of the base shelf 146 such that ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146 remain exposed between the side boards 160 of the drawer 154 and the sidewalls 106 of the base unit 102. Accordingly, when the drawer assembly 104b is installed within the base unit 102, gaps 155 (shown in FIG. 1) are disposed between the external surfaces of the side boards 160 and the inner surfaces 106a of the sidewalls 106. A dimension of the gaps 155, and therefore the ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146, is slightly larger than a dimension of the stops 114 measured between the first and second side surfaces 142, 144. The gaps 155 therefore accommodate the stops 114 such that the drawer 154 can freely move relative to the base unit 102. While the drawer 154 has just been described as having a width dimension Wd between the external surfaces of the side boards 160 that is less than a width dimension Ws of the base shelf 146 for defining the gaps 155 and the ledge portions 146a, an alternate embodiment of the drawer 154 may include a width dimension Wd that is only slightly less than or possibly equal to the width dimension Ws of the base shelf 146. In such an embodiment, the external surfaces of the side boards 160 further comprise elongated recesses disposed adjacent the ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146 for accommodating the stops 114. So configured, the storage capacity of the drawer 154 may by increased.

The guide-rail 156 of the disclosed embodiment comprises a carrier rail 172 and a slide rail 174. The carrier rail 172 is fixed to the top-side of the base shelf 146 with a pair of threaded fasteners 176. Similarly, the slide rail 174 is fixed to the bottom-side of the bottom board 164 of the drawer 154 with a pair of threaded fasteners 178. In a preferred embodiment, the carrier rail 172 is centered on the base shelf 146 along the width of the base shelf 146 and the slide rail 147 is centered along the width of the bottom board 164 of the drawer 154. So configured, the carrier rail 172 receives the slide rail 174 in a manner known to those skilled in the art such that a user may slidably displace the slide rail 176, and therefore the drawer 154, relative to the base shelf 146.

As mentioned above four shelf supports 112 and two stops 114 retain the drawer assembly 104b within the base unit 102. More specifically, two of the four shelf supports 112 are disposed within the predetermined front and rear shelf bores 108a, 109a of the opposing sidewalls 106 of the base unit 102. Preferably, the front and rear shelf bores 108a, 109a are located at a common height such that the base shelf 146 is supported within a level plane. The bottom-side of the base shelf 146 therefore engages the horizontal portions 118 of the shelf supports 112 including the primary and secondary lugs 122, 124. In a preferred embodiment, the bottom-side of the base shelf 146 includes blind bores (not shown) corresponding to and receiving the primary and secondary lugs 122, 124 of the shelf supports 112.

Accordingly, the bottom-side of the base shelf 146 engages the support surfaces 120 of the horizontal portions 118 of the shelf supports 112 and the primary and secondary lugs 122, 124 engage the blind bores. Thus, the shelf supports 112 support the base shelf 146 against displacement in a downward direction relative to the orientation of the base unit depicted in FIG. 1. Additionally, the primary and secondary lugs 122, 124 retain the position of the base shelf 146 against displacement in the forward and/or rearward direction relative to the orientation of the base unit depicted in FIG. 2.

The stops 114 are disposed within the predetermined stop bores 111a. The stop bores 111a that receive the stops 114 are disposed within a plane that is located parallel to and above a plane occupied by the front and rear shelf bores 108a, 109a, as depicted in FIG. 1. In a preferred embodiment, a distance between the stop bores 111 and the adjacent rear shelf bores 109 is slightly larger than a thickness of the base shelf 146. So configured, the stops 114 are disposed adjacent the ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146 of the drawer assembly 104b.

Furthermore, as depicted in FIG, 2 and with reference to FIG. 4, the stops 114 are positioned within the stop bores 111a such that the second stop surfaces 136 of the cam bodies 130 engage ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146. In one embodiment, the second stop surfaces 136 cammingly engage the ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146, thereby sandwiching the rear portion of the base shelf 146 into engagement with the shelf supports 112. In another embodiment, the second stop surfaces 136 are merely disposed in close proximity to the ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146. In either configuration, however, the second stop surfaces 136 of the stops 114 prevent the base shelf 146, and therefore the entire drawer assembly 104b from tipping out of engagement with the shelf supports 112 when the drawer 154 is pulled open.

For example, when the cavity 168 in the drawer 154 is loaded with articles of clothing, tools, office supplies, kitchen supplies, and/or any other article(s), the drawer 154 becomes heavy. When the drawer 154 is closed, as depicted in FIG. 1, the base shelf 146 and shelf supports 112 carry the load. However, when a user pulls the drawer 154 partially out of the base unit 102, the load carried by the drawer 154 is no longer located directly above the base shelf 146 and shelf supports 112. Accordingly, the load of the drawer 154 is applied to the interface between the slide rail 174 and the carrier rail 172 of the guide-rail 156. The load is therefore transferred to the base shelf 146. The ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146 exerts a force against the stops 114 and the stops 114 counteract this force to maintain the position of the base shelf 146.

Therefore, in the absence of the stops 114, the force may tend to pivot the base shelf 146 about the shelf supports 112 disposed in the front shelf bores 108a. Simultaneously, this pivoting would raise the rear portion of the base shelf 146 out of engagement with the self supports 112 disposed in the rear shelf bores 109a. If the drawer 154 is loaded with heavy articles, the base shelf 146 could potentially tip so far that tile entire drawer assembly 104b could slide out of the base unit 102. Therefore, it should be appreciated that the stops 114 in combination with the shelf supports 112 and the sidewalls 106 of the disclosed embodiment limit displacement of the base shelf 146 of the drawer assembly 104b relative to the base unit in generally all directions thereby defining a structurally sound storage system 100.

It should be appreciated that the storage accessories 104 can be interchangeably supported on any four shelf supports 112 disposed within generally any corresponding front and rear shelf bores 108, 109 in the sidewalls 106. Accordingly, the stops 114 may be positioned in any appropriate stop bores 111 to serve the necessary function. For example, during assembly, a consumer first decides which storage accessories 104 to configure within the base unlit 102. Subsequently, the consumer decides at which heights or relative positions to dispose the accessories 104. In the disclosed embodiment, the shelf supports 112 are then disposed within the desired front and rear shelf bores 108, 109 formed in the sidewalls 106. This comprises inserting the positioning lugs 128 of the vertical portions 116 of the shelf supports 112 into the front and rear shelf bores 108, 109 such that the stop surfaces 126 of the shelf supports 112 abuttingly engage the inner surfaces 106a of the sidewalls 106. Thereafter, the consumer may have to slightly rotate the shelf supports 112 about the positioning lugs 128 such that the support surfaces 120 of the horizontal portions 118 are disposed upward relative to the orientation of the base unit 102 depicted in FIG. 1.

At this point, the consumer or other individual positions the base shelves 146 of each of the storage accessories 104 onto the horizontal portions 118 of the shelf supports 112. In doing so, the bores (not shown) formed in the bottom-sides of the base shelves 146 receivingly engage the primary and secondary lugs 292, 124. Once the bores completely engage the primary aid secondary lugs 122, 124, the bottom-sides of the base shelves 146 abuttingly engage the support surfaces 120. In one embodiment, this completes the installation of the shelf 140a and the shoe shelf assembly 104c. For example, the shelf 104a merely comprises the base shelf 146. Additionally, in a preferred embodiment, the shoe shelf assembly 104c is pre-assembled and installed into the base unit 102 as a unitary structure. Further yet, in a preferred embodiment, the base shelf 146 of the drawer assembly 104b includes the carrier rail 172 of the guide rail 156 securely attached thereto prior to installing the base shelf 146 within the base unit 102.

With the base shelf 146 of the drawer assembly 104b installed, the consumer or other individual inserts the lugs 132 of the stops 114 into the appropriate stop bores 111 in the sidewalls 106. As mentioned above, this comprises inserting the lugs 132 into the predetermined stop bores 111a, which are disposed in a plane located directly above the predetermined rear shelf bores 109a. In one embodiment, to insert the lugs 132, a user aligns the lugs 132 with the respective stop bores 111 and applies a force in the axial direction of the lugs 132. In alternative embodiments, a user may twist the lugs 132 into the stop bores 111 by rotating the stops 114 in a single rotational direction or via back-and-forth reciprocal rotation, for example. In yet another embodiment, a user may require a tool such as pliers, a hammer, a screw driver a wrench, or some other implement to insert the lugs 132 into the stop bores 111.

With the stops removably disposed in the stop bores 111a, the consumer grasps the grip surfaces 138, 140 and rotates the stops 114 such that the second stop surfaces 136 engage the ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146 of the drawer assembly 104b. So configured, the cam bodies 130 are generally vertically disposed, as depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2. Stated another way the first stop surfaces 134 face upward and the second stop surfaces 136 face downward relative to the orientation of the base unit 102 depicted in FIG. 1. It should be appreciated that in the disclosed embodiment, the eccentric position of the lugs 132 on the stops 114 allow the consumer or other individual to generate a camming action between the second stop surfaces 136 of the stops 114 and the ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146.

Specifically, in one embodiment, with the stops 114 disposed generally vertically such that the second stop surfaces 136 faces downward, a vertical distance between the second stop surfaces 136 and the support surfaces 120 of the shelf supports 112, which are disposed in the rear shelf bores 109a, is equal to or less than a thickness of the base shelf 146. So configured, a consumer can manually grasp and apply a torque to the stops 114 to lock the second stop surfaces 136 into engagement with the ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146.

With the stops 114 securely engaging the ledge portions 146a, the consumer can then position the drawer 154 such that the slide rail 174 disposed on the bottom-side of the bottom board 164 slides into engagement with the carrier rail 172. This secures the slide rail 174 within the carrier rail 172 for sliding displacement relative thereto, as is generally known within the art such that the drawer 154 is disposed for sliding displacement relative to the base shelf 146 and base unit 102.

While the assembly process has just been described as including a consumer or other individual installing the base shelf of the drawer assembly 104b prior to removably disposing the stops 114 in the stop bores 111, an alternative embodiment includes a consumer or other individual disposing the stops 114 into the stop bores 111 prior to installing the base shelf 146. For example, a consumer or other individual may dispose the stops 114 it to the appropriate stop bores 111a immediately after or even prior to removably disposing the shelf supports 112 into the front and rear shelf bore, 108a, 109a. Thereafter, the consumer or other individual rotates the stops 114 into a generally horizontal position. In the horizontal position, one of the first and second grip surfaces 138, 140 of the stops 114 is disposed upward and the other is disposed downward, relative to the orientation of the base unit 102 depicted in FIG. 1. So configured, a distance between the downwardly disposed grip surfaces 138, 140 and the shelf supports 112 is larger than the thickness of the base shelf 146. More particularly, a distance between the downwardly facing grip surfaces 138, 140 and the distal ends of the primary and secondary lugs 122, 124 of the shelf supports 112 is greater than the thickness of the base shelf 146. Thus, the consumer or other individual then slides the base shelf 146 below the stops 114 and into engagement with the shelf supports 112. Thereafter, the stops 114 are rotated such that the second stop surfaces 136 engage the ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146 in a manner identical to that described above.

In a further alternative embodiment, instead of rotating the stops 114 into a generally horizontal position prior to installing the base shelf 146, the stops 114 may be rotated into a generally vertical position. Such a vertical position of the stops 114 includes the second stop surfaces 136 facing upward and the first stop surfaces 134 facing downward, relative to the orientation of the base unit 102 depicted in FIG. 1. So configured, a distance between the downwardly facing first stop surfaces 134 and the shelf supports 112 is larger that the thickness of the base shelf 146. More particularly, a distance between the downwardly facing first stop surfaces 134 and the distal ends of the primary and secondary lugs 122, 124 of the shelf supports 112 is greater than a thickness of the base shelf 146, but less than a distance between the horizontally positioned stops 114 and the shelf support 112 described in the immediately previous embodiment. Nevertheless, the consumer or other individual then slides the base self 146 below the stops 114 and into engagement with the shelf supports 112. Thereafter, the stops 114 are rotated such that the second stop surfaces 136 engage the ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146 in a manner identical to that described above.

Furthermore, while the assembly has just been described as including the second stop surfaces 136 of the stops 114 engaging the base shelf 146, an alternative embodiment may comprise the first stop surfaces 134 engaging the base shelf 146. In such an embodiment, it should be appreciated that the first stop surfaces 134 are disposed closer to the lugs 132 than the second stop surfaces 136. Such an embodiment may require the incorporation of a slightly thicker base shelf 146 to accommodate the shorter ends of the cam bodies 130 of the stops 114, which are located adjacent the first stop surfaces 134, as depicted in FIG. 5. Alternatively, a distance between the stop bore 111a and the shelf bore 109a, for example, may be reduced to accommodate the shorter ends of the cam bodies 130 of the stops 114, which are located adjacent to the first stop surfaces 134. In either event, the consumer grasps the stops 114 via the grip surfaces 138, 140 and rotates the first stop surfaces 134 into engagement with the ledge portions 146a of the base shelf 146 in a manner similar to that described above.

Further yet, while the stops 114 have been described herein as including generally flat stop surfaces 134, 136, an alternative embodiment of the storage system 100 may comprise stops 114 having rounded stop surfaces or any other geometry capable of serving the principles of the present disclosure. For example, as mentioned above, in one embodiment, the stop surfaces 134, 136 may serve as camming surfaces adapted to cammingly enrage the base shelf 146. Accordingly, the stop or camming surfaces 134, 136 of the stops 114 may include teeth or a knurled surface for frictionally engaging the base shelf 146, while remaining manually operable and easily rotatable out of engagement with the base shelf 146 by an individual such as a consumer without the use of tools or other assisting devices. Additionally, while the stops 114 have been disclosed herein as comprising generally eccentric stops 114, i.e. having lugs 132 disposed closer to the first stop surface 134 than to the second stop 146, an alternative embodiment of the stops 114 may include the lugs 132 disposed centered between the opposing first and second stop surfaces 134, 134 of the cam bodies 130 of the stops 114. So configured, the stops 114 would operate substantially similarly to that described herein.

While the storage system 100 has just been described as comprising a plurality of storage accessories 104 including a shelf 104a, a drawer assembly 104b, and a shoe shelf assembly 104c, alternative embodiments may include other types of storage accessories such as, for example, cabinet assemblies, work surface assemblies including sliding computer keyboard supports, sliding basket assemblies, hanging rods or hooks, or any other storage accessory that may be desirable to a consumer. Furthermore, while the storage system 100 has been described as including three storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c, alternative embodiments of the storage system 100 may comprise any number of storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c adapted to be removably supported by the base unit 102 and interchangeable with each other.

While the stops 114 have only been described herein as being incorporated into use with the drawer assembly 104b, it should be appreciated that the stops 114 could be adapted for use with any of the other storage accessories 104 expressly disclosed herein as well as any storage accessory not expressly disclosed. For example, one alternative storage accessory may comprise a cabinet assembly including cabinet doors on hinges. The weight of the doors when opened may, tend to cause the cabinet assembly to tip out of thee base unit 102. Accordingly, one could envision implementing the stops 114 just described to engage a base shelf 146 of the cabinet assembly in a manner identical to that described with respect to the drawer assembly 104b. Alternatively, instead of engaging a base shelf 146, one could envision implementing the stops 114 to engage a top, rear portion of the cabinet assembly to prevent tipping. In such a case, the stops 114 may not be disposed in stop bores 111 that are located immediately above the rear shelf bores 110 that receive the shelf supports 112 supporting the cabinet assembly, but rather, the stops 114 may be disposed within stop bores 111 that are substantially higher on the sidewalls 106, or even rear shelf bores 109 disposed above the top of the cabinet assembly.

Accordingly, it should be appreciated that while the present disclosure includes twice as many rear bores 110 as front bores 108, an alternative embodiment may include the same number of rear and front bores 108, 110. So configured, there would be no distinction between the rear shelf bores 109 and the stop bores 111. Rather, each rear bore 110 would correspond in height with a front bore 180. Thus, the shelf supports 112 may be disposed in any set of corresponding front and rear bores 108, 110 to support a base shelf 146 in a level plane and the stops 114 could be simply disposed in the next upwardly adjacent set of rear bores 110. Furthermore, in such an embodiment, because the front bores 108 would include a pair of bores corresponding in height with the rear bores 110 receiving the stops 114, an additional pair of stops 114 could be disposed within the corresponding front bores 108 as well. Such stops 114 disposed in the front bores 108 would add further secure the storage accessory within the base unit 102.

In one embodiment of the storage system 100 disclosed herein, the base unit 102 and storage accessories 104 are each constructed of wood. In a preferred embodiment, the wood comprises particle board. However, alternative embodiments of the storage system 100 may be constructed of a medium density fiberboard (MDF), ply-wood a polymer, or any other suitable material.

Therefore, based on to foregoing, the present disclosure provides a storage system 100 comprising a plurality of storage accessories 104 that may be easily and quickly moved in and out of a base unit 102 such that the entire storage system can be reconfigured without the use of tools. The storage accessories 104 are secured within the base unit 102 with removable shelf supports 112 and removable, manually operable stops 114. Accordingly, at any time after the initial installation and configuration of the storage system 100, a user may manually remove, substitute, or reconfigure any or all of the storage accessories 104 without the use of tools or any assistant device.

In one embodiment of the storage system, a single base unit 102 is offered for sale with a fixed number of storage accessories 104. For example, as depicted and described herein, one embodiment may include a base unit 102, a shelf 104a, a drawer assembly 104b, and a shoe shelf assembly 104c. In an alternative embodiment, additional storage accessories 104 may be offered for sale independent of the base unit 102. The additional storage accessories may be identical to or different from the storage accessories 104a, 104b, 104c offered for sale with the base unit 102. In a still further embodiment, the base unit 102 and storage accessories 104 are offered for sale independently of each other. Thus, a consumer can purchase a base unit 102 and selectively choose the particular storage accessories 104 desired for any particular application. It should be appreciated that such embodiments provide the consumer the opportunity to purchase supplemental or alternative storage accessories 104 to be incorporate into the base unit 102 at any time subsequent to the initial assembly and installation.

In light of the foregoing, it should be appreciated that tile description of the present disclosure should be understood as merely providing examples of the present invention and, thus, variations that do not depart from the gist of the invention are intended to be within the scope of the invention.