Title:
ORGANIZING AND STORING DEVICES, SYSTEMS, AND METHODS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is directed to devices, systems, and methods for organizing and storing various components of a cleaning system. The present invention provides an organizing-and-storing system that may include a base having first and second sides. Pegs, handle holders, and a hook may extend from the first side of the base for storing and organizing the various components of the cleaning system.



Inventors:
Van Landingham Jr., Reneau A. (Stephens City, VA, US)
Evans, Daryll Scott (Winchester, VA, US)
Application Number:
12/134808
Publication Date:
12/11/2008
Filing Date:
06/06/2008
Assignee:
Rubbermaid Commercial Products LLC (Winchester, VA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47F7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NOVOSAD, JENNIFER ELEANORE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MOORE & VAN ALLEN PLLC (Charlotte, NC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for organizing and storing a cleaning system, the cleaning system having at least one handle and a plurality of cleaning heads, each of the cleaning heads is configured to releasably attach to the handle, the apparatus comprising: a base having first and second sides; a plurality of pegs extending from the first side of the base and configured to attach the cleaning head to the base; and at least one handle holder connected to the first side of the base and configured to attach the handle to the base.

2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein a connector having a receptacle for receiving one of the pegs is provided on an end of the cleaning head and the cleaning head is attached to the base when the peg is inside of the receptacle.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein each of the pegs is angled upward to prevent the cleaning head from sliding off of the peg.

4. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the handle holder is a hook and the handle hangs from the hook when the handle is attached to the base.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the handle holder is a clasp and a stem of the handle is releasably secured in the clasp when the handle is attached to the base.

6. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the pegs are repositionable.

7. The apparatus of claim 6, further comprising: a pair of brackets disposed on the base, each of the brackets having an extension that overhangs the base; a channel formed between each of the extensions and the base; at least a carriage secured between the brackets and repositionable along the channel, wherein the each of the pegs is disposed on a carriage and repositionable along the channel.

8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the channel extends to an end of the base and the carriage and the peg disposed thereon can slide off of the end of base.

9. The apparatus of claim 8, wherein the carriage and the peg disposed thereon can slide onto the end of the base.

10. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising: a hook outwardly extending from a bottom end of the base and configured to be attachable with the cleaning handle and the cleaning head.

11. A system for organizing and storing, the system comprising: a cleaning handle; a cleaning head configured to releasably attach to the cleaning handle; a base having first and second sides; a peg extending from the first side of the base; and a handle holder connected to the first side of the base, wherein the cleaning handle is releasably attachable to the handle holder and the cleaning head is releasably attachable to the peg.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein a connector having a receptacle configured to receive the peg is provided on an end of the cleaning head and the cleaning head is attached to the base when the peg is inside of the receptacle.

13. The apparatus of claim 12, wherein the pegs is angled upward to prevent the cleaning head from sliding off of the peg.

14. The system of claim 12, wherein the receptacle is configured to receive a connecting end of cleaning handle.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein a resilient boss is located on the connecting end of the cleaning handle and the resilient boss snaps into a mating slot of the connector of the cleaning head to releasably secure the cleaning head to the cleaning handle.

16. The system of claim 11, further comprising: a pair of brackets disposed on the base, each of the brackets having an extension that overhangs the base; a channel formed between each of the extensions and the base; a carriage secured between the brackets, the carriage is repositionable along the channel, wherein the peg is disposed on the carriage such that the peg is repositionable along the channel.

17. A method for organizing and storing a cleaning system, the cleaning system having a cleaning head releasably attached to a handle, the method comprising: detaching the cleaning head from the handle; attaching the cleaning head to a peg extending from a first side of a base; and attaching the handle to a handle holder connected to the first side of the base.

18. The method of claim 17, wherein the step of detaching the cleaning head from the handle comprises: depressing a resilient boss located an end of the handle; and pulling the end of the handle out of a receptacle formed in a connector of the cleaning head.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the step of attaching the cleaning head to the peg comprises placing the receptacle of the cleaning head around the peg.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the step of attaching the cleaning head to the peg further comprises aligning a resilient boss located on the peg with a mating slot formed in the connector of the cleaning head such that the connector snaps onto the peg.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) to the filing date of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/942,530, as filed on Jun. 7, 2007, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF INVENTION

This invention relates generally to organizing and storing devices, systems, and methods and more particularly to devices, systems, and methods for organizing and storing cleaning-tool heads and handles.

BACKGROUND

Cleaning implements typically comprise a handle and a tool head, such as a broom head or mop head. Some of these cleaning implements have releasably attachable, and thus interchangeable, tool heads. This enables an operator to use a single handle for multiple cleaning operations. For example, when presented with a particular cleaning task, the operator may select the tool head that is most suitable for the task and connect the selected tool head to the handle. And later, when presented with a new task, the operator may remove the previously selected tool head and select a different, more appropriate tool head for the new task. For example, a cleaning implement may be converted from a broom to a mop by removing a broom head from the handle and attaching a mop head to the handle.

Because a single handle can be used to support multiple tool heads, these cleaning implements enable operators to reduce equipment costs by purchasing only one handle and multiple tool heads, instead of purchasing traditional cleaning implements in which the handle is permanently attached to the cleaning head. However, these multiple tool heads may create clutter and/or consume a large amount of storage space.

SUMMARY

According to an aspect the present invention, an apparatus is provided for organizing and storing a cleaning system. The cleaning system may include at least one handle and a plurality of cleaning heads, where each of the cleaning heads is configured to releasably attach to the handle. The apparatus may include a base having first and second sides, a plurality of pegs extending from the first side of the base and configured to attach the cleaning head to the base, and at least one handle holder connected to the first side of the base and configured to attach the handle to the base.

According to another aspect of the present invention, a system is provided for organizing and storing. The system may include a cleaning handle, a cleaning head configured to releasably attach to the cleaning handle, a base having first and second sides, a peg extending from the first side of the base, and a handle holder connected to the first side of the base. The cleaning handle may be releasably attachable to the handle holder and the cleaning head may be releasably attachable to the peg.

According to yet another aspect of the present invention a method is provided for storing and organizing a cleaning system. The cleaning system may include a cleaning head releasably attached to a handle. The method may include detaching the cleaning head from the handle, attaching the cleaning head to a peg extending from a first side of a base, and attaching the handle to a handle holder connected to the first side of the base.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following description thereof and appended claims in which references are made to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, reference should now be had to the embodiments shown in the accompanying drawings and described below. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an organizing-and-storing system for organizing and storing a cleaning system, according to an embodiment of the present invention. The storage-and-organizing system of FIG. 1 is shown mounted to a wall, and organizing and storing a cleaning-tool head and a cleaning handle.

FIG. 2 is a side view of the organizing-and-storing system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a front view of a cleaning system that can be organized and stored in the organizing-and-storing system of FIG. 1, according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a front perspective view of an organizing-and-storing system mounted to a wall and having an extension that provides additional pegs, according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a front perspective view of an organizing-and-storing system mounted to a wall and having repositionable pegs, according to yet another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 6 is a front perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 5, where the repositionable pegs are rotated ninety degrees.

DESCRIPTION

Certain terminology is used herein for convenience only and is not to be taken as a limitation on the invention. For example, words such as “upper,” “lower,” “left,” “right,” “horizontal,” “vertical,” “upward,” “transverse” and “downward” merely describe the configuration shown in the Figures. Indeed, the components may be oriented in any direction and the terminology, therefore, should be understood as encompassing such variations unless specified otherwise.

Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals designate corresponding or similar elements throughout, various embodiments of an organizing-and-storing system according to the present invention are shown and generally designated at 10. The organizing-and-storing system 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 organizes and stores various components of a cleaning system 12, which is illustrated in FIG. 3. The organizing-and-storing system 10 includes a base 13 having first and second sides 14, 15. Pegs 16, handle holders 17, and a hook 18 extend from the first side 14 of the base 13 for organizing and storing the various components of the cleaning system 12.

With reference to FIG. 3, the cleaning system 12, which can be organized and stored by the system 10, includes cleaning handles 20a and 20b and cleaning-tool heads 22a through 22e that removably attach to the cleaning handles 20a and 20b. In the illustrated embodiment, the cleaning system 12 includes two exemplary cleaning handles 20a and 20b: a fixed handle 20a and a telescoping handle 20b. The illustrated cleaning system 12 also includes five exemplary cleaning-tool heads 22a through 22e: an angle broom 22a; a cone mop 22b; a roller mop 22c; a dust mop 22d; and a bathroom mop 22e. It should be appreciated that the cleaning handle 20a-b may be any type of cleaning handle known to those having skill in the art, and the cleaning-tool head 22a-e may be any type of cleaning-tool head known to those having ordinary skill in the art.

The cleaning-tool heads 22a-e are releasably attachable to the cleaning handles 20a-b. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, each cleaning handle 20a-b includes a hanging end 21 having a hanging slot or aperture 23 and a connecting end 24 having a connector 30, such as resilient boss or a retractable member, such as a spring loaded ball. Each cleaning-tool head 22a-e includes a connector 26 having a receptacle 28 in the form of an open-ended annular tube for receiving the connecting end 24 and a mating slot or aperture 32 for receiving the resilient boss or retractable member 30.

To connect the cleaning-tool head 22a-e to the cleaning handle 20a-b, an operator inserts the connecting end 24 of the handle into the receptacle 28 of the tool head. The resilient boss or retractable member 30 retracts or deforms when inserted into the receptacle 28. After inserting the connecting end 24 into the receptacle 28, the operator aligns the resilient boss or retractable member 30 and the mating slot 32, causing the resilient boss or retractable member 30 to expand and extend through the mating slot 32, and thereby secure the cleaning-tool head 22a-e to the cleaning handle 20a-b. Accordingly, the cleaning-tool heads 22a-e “snap” onto the cleaning handles 20a-e.

To disconnect the cleaning-tool head 22a-e from the cleaning-tool handle 20a-b, an operator depresses the resilient boss or retractable member 30 and pulls the connecting end 24 of the handle out of the receptacle 28 of the tool head. It should be appreciated that any means known in the art for releasably interconnecting the cleaning-tool heads 22a-e and the cleaning handles 20a-b may be used.

The cleaning system 12 having releasably attachable, and thus interchangeable, cleaning-tool heads 22a-e enables an operator to use a single cleaning handle 20a-b for multiple cleaning operations. For example, when presented with a particular cleaning task, the operator may select the cleaning-tool head 22a-e that is most suitable for the task and connect the selected cleaning-tool head 22a-e to the cleaning handle 20a-b. When presented with a new task, the operator may remove the previously selected cleaning-tool head 22a-e and select a different, more appropriate cleaning-tool head 22a-e for the new task.

Because a single handle 20a-b can be used to support multiple cleaning-tool heads 22a-e, the cleaning system 12 requires less storage space than traditional cleaning systems in which the handle is permanently attached to the cleaning head. However, despite requiring less storage space than traditional cleaning systems, the cleaning handles 20a-b and cleaning-tool heads 22a-e of the disclosed cleaning system 12 may be difficult to organize and may clutter storage spaces.

An operator can use the organizing-and-storing system 10 to organize and store the cleaning handles 20a-b and the cleaning-tool heads 22a-e of the cleaning system 12. To do so, the operator can mount the base 13 to a vertical surface, such as a wall of a garage or closet or on the back of a door. This clears up floor and shelf space that may have otherwise been used for storing the cleaning system 12.

For example, as illustrated in FIG. 1, to mount the base 13 to a wall 46, an operator inserts fasteners 38 through openings 40 and into the wall 46. The openings 40 are formed in upper and lower portions 54, 56 of the base 13. For example, the base 13 illustrated in FIG. 1 includes two openings 40 formed in left and right sides 50, 52 of the upper portion 54 of the base 13, and one opening (not shown) formed in the bottom portion 56 of the base 13. When mounted in this manner, the second side 15 of the base 13 is flush against the wall 46. The fasteners 38 may be flathead screws or any other suitable fastener know to those having ordinary skill in the art. Other mounting devices may also be used. For example, a mating bracket may be attached to the vertical surface and the base secured to the bracket. The base may also be secured to the vertical surface using adhesive such as releasable adhesive tape.

After mounting the base 13 to a vertical surface, an operator can organize and store the cleaning system 12 on the organizing-and-storing system 10. For example, the cleaning handles 20a-b are organized and stored on the handle holders 17, and the cleaning-tool heads 22a-e are organized and stored on the pegs 16. Either a cleaning handle 20a-b or a cleaning-tool head 22a-e can be organized and stored on the hook 18. The hooks 18 may also be used to told other accessories.

To store a cleaning-tool head 22a-e on the organizing-and-storing system 10, an operator connects the connector 26 of the cleaning-tool head 22a-e to one of the pegs 16 by placing the receptacle 28 over the peg 16 such that the peg 16 is slidably inserted into receptacle 28. The pegs 16 are angled upward to prevent the cleaning-tool head 22a-e from sliding off of the peg 16.

To store a cleaning handle 20a-b, the operator interconnects the hanging slot or aperture 23 of the cleaning handle 20a-b and the handle holder 17 of the organizing-and-storing device 10 by placing the hanging slot 23 over the handle holder 17, as shown in FIG. 1, such that the handle holder 17 is inserted into the slot or aperture 23. Accordingly, the cleaning handle 20a-b hangs from the handle holder 17. A flange 48 is formed on the handle holder 17 to prevent the cleaning handle 20a-b from sliding off of the handle holder 17.

The hook 18 stores either the cleaning handles 20a-b or the cleaning-tool heads 22a-e. The hook 18 connects to and stores a cleaning handle 20a-b in a similar manner that the handle holder 17 connects to and stores a cleaning handle 20a-b. The hanging slot or aperture 23 of the cleaning handle 20a-b is positioned over the hook 18 such that the cleaning handle 20a-b hangs from the hook 18. The cleaning-tool head 22a-e may be connected to the hook 18 by positioning the mating slot 32 of the connector 26 over the hook 18 such that the hook 18 is inserted into the slot 32 and the cleaning-tool head 22a-e hangs from the hook 18. It should also be appreciated that the hook 18 may store the cleaning-tool head 20a-e in a similar manner that the pegs 16 store the cleaning-tool head 20a-e. That is, the receptacle 28 of the connector 26 may be positioned over the hook 18.

The exemplary organizing-and-storing system 10 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 includes three pegs 16 for storing cleaning-tool heads 22a-e, two handle holders 17 for storing cleaning handles 20a-b, and one hook 18 for storing either a cleaning-tool head 22a-e or a cleaning handle 20a-b. The arrangement of the pegs 16, handle holders 17, and hook 18 organize the cleaning system 12 for convenient storing. The cleaning handles 20a-b hang from the handle holders 17, which are arranged on left and right sides 50, 52 of an upper portion 54 of the base 13. The slightly angled pegs 16 are vertically spaced apart from each other in a middle portion 58 of the base 13, between the handle holders 17. As a result the cleaning-tool heads 22a-e are arranged such that they extend upward and outward from the middle portion 58 of the base 13 and the cleaning handles 20a-b are arranged so as to hang on both sides of the stored cleaning-tool heads 22a-e. The hook 18 is arranged on a bottom portion 56 of the base 13, and, as a result, the cleaning-tool head 22a-e or the cleaning handle 20a-b stored thereon hangs downward from the base 13.

It should be appreciated that any number of pegs 16, handle holders 17, and hooks 18 can be provided on the organizing-and-storing system 10. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, an extension 60 is connected to the base 13 for providing the organizing-and-storing system 10 with additional pegs 16.

A top portion 62 of the extension 60 is secured to the bottom portion 56 of the base 13. For example, an opening (not shown) is formed in the top portion 62 of the extension 60, and, to connect the extension 60 to the base 13, a fastener, such as a screw, extends through the opening of the extension 60 and the opening 40 of the bottom portion 56 of the base 13. The extension 60 may also be connected directly to the vertical surface using fasteners that engage openings 40, as previously described. Any number of extensions 60 may be added to the organizing-and-storing system 10 to provide any number of pegs 16. Although not illustrated in FIG. 4, it should be appreciated that a hook 18 may be arranged on a bottom portion 64 of the extension 60.

According to the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 5 and 6, the handle holder 17 is a handle clasp 69 constructed from a resilient material, such as plastic. The handle clasp 69 includes a pair of curved fingers 72 in facing relationship for clasping a stem 70 of the cleaning handle 20a-b. To connect the cleaning handle 20a-b to the handle clasp 69, an operator pushes the stem 70 against the handle clasp 69. This forces apart the fingers 72. The operator continues pushing to slide the stem 70 past outer edges 74 of the fingers 72 and into the clasp 69. The fingers 72 then contract around the stem 70 to secure the cleaning handle 20a-b in place. A fastener 76, such as a flathead screw, secures the handle clasps 69 to the base 13. Alternatively, the handle clasps 69 may be connected to the base 13 using adhesive, or snap-fit or press-fit connected, on these components may be formed of a single unitary piece.

Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 6, an embodiment of the organizing-and-storing system 10 is illustrated having a peg-repositioning system 80. The peg-repositioning system 80 includes a pair of brackets 82 that extend substantially the entire length of the middle portion 58 of the base 13. Each bracket 82 has an extension 84 that overhangs the middle portion 58 of the base 13 so as to create a channel 86 between each of the overhanging extensions 84 and the middle portion 58. The pegs 16 are mounted on carriages 90 that slide in the channels 86, along the length of the base 13 in directions indicated by arrows 94, 96. The channels 86 extend to the bottom end 56 of the base 13 so that the carriages 90, having the pegs 16 deposed thereon, can be slid off of or onto the organizing-and-storing system 10.

The carriages 90 may be slightly arced such that the carriages 90 snugly fit in channels 86. The slight arc spring loads the carriages 90 and thereby ensures that the carriages 90 maintain concurrent contact with the extensions 84 and the first side 14 of the base 13. Friction forces resulting from this snug fit stabilize the carriages 90 and prevent unwanted sliding when a cleaning-head tool 22a-e is stored on a peg 16. However, when sliding is desired, an operator may apply enough force to overcome the friction forces, or the operator may push the carriages 90 inward, toward the first side 14 of the base 13 so as to eliminate the arc.

The peg-repositioning system 80, among other things, enables an operator to slide the pegs 16 in directions 94, 96. The pegs 16 slide independent of each other, and the pegs 16 slide independent of the base 13. This sliding can, for example, be utilized to adjust the distance between the pegs 16 for accommodating varying sizes and shapes of cleaning-tool heads 22a-e. For example, a large cleaning-tool head 22a-e, such as the cone mop 22b, may require more space than other cleaning-tool heads 22a-e. Accordingly, the peg 16 designated to store the cone mop 22b may be slid a distance away from other pegs 16 so as to create space for the cone mop 22b.

Depending on the storage space in which the organizing-and-storing system 10 is used, it may be desirable to horizontally mount the base 13, as shown in FIG. 6. The peg-repositioning system 80 enables an operator remove the pegs 16, rotate the pegs 16 ninety degrees relative to the base 13, and reinstall the pegs 16 so that the pegs 16 point up when the base 13 is horizontally mounted.

Although the present invention has been shown and described in considerable detail with respect to only a few/particular exemplary embodiments thereof, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that it is not intended to limit the invention to the embodiments since various modifications, omissions and additions may be made to the disclosed embodiments without materially departing from the novel teachings and advantages of the invention, particularly in light of the foregoing teachings.