Title:
First-In First-Out Storage Container
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A storage container used to provide first-in, first-out storage of consumable products stored in individual packages, which utilizes a bottom panel, front panel, rear panel, side panels, a base, and a slot, to allow the user to efficiently and reliably remove the first-stored individual package through the slot located on the front panel of the storage container near its base. In addition, a pull tab and handles are made part of the storage container to allow for ease in transport of the storage container. Further, single bands of material are wrapped around the perimeter of the storage container to provide additional support to the storage container. Optionally, a lid is used to cover the open top of the storage container. Additionally, the base can be removed from the storage container such that the storage container will be collapsible.



Inventors:
Spennacchio, David (Jupiter, FL, US)
Spennacchio, Regina (Jupiter, FL, US)
Application Number:
13/724242
Publication Date:
06/26/2014
Filing Date:
12/21/2012
Assignee:
SPENNACCHIO DAVID
SPENNACCHIO REGINA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D25/00; B65D25/02; B65D25/28
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080083764PLASTIC CONTAINER AND SEPARATELY FORMED HANDLEApril, 2008Kaminski et al.
20070102429Trash binMay, 2007Shih
20090223971ORGANIZER FOR ACCESSORY ITEMSSeptember, 2009Moffett
20120273489Double Layer LidNovember, 2012Dai
20160058220MAGNETIC DINNERWAREMarch, 2016Dixon
20140183191CONTAINERJuly, 2014Kerr
20100096386DIGITAL PRINTING PLASTIC CONTAINERS WITH IMPROVED ADHESION AND RECYCLABILITYApril, 2010Uptergrove et al.
20140227400BREATHABLE CONTAINER SEALAugust, 2014Farooqui
20120067881Telescoping animal resistant containerMarch, 2012Thomas et al.
20090095170MARINADE CONTAINERApril, 2009Hutzler et al.
20140239004Kitchen Counter Mountable Trash BinAugust, 2014Hagenburger



Primary Examiner:
ANDERSON, DON M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Roy David Jackson, Jr. (Bradenton, FL, US)
Claims:
The invention claimed is:

1. A storage container, which comprises: (a) a bottom panel and a continuous front panel, rear panel, and two side panels that extend from the bottom panel and terminate at an open top end; (b) a hard base that sits on top of the bottom panel; and (c) a slot cut in the front panel just above said base when sitting on top of the bottom panel.

2. A storage container as recited in claim 1, wherein said base is removable.

3. A storage container as recited in claim 1, further comprising a pull tab located on said front panel.

4. A storage container as recited in claim 1, further comprising handles attached to the side panels.

5. A storage container as recited in claim 1, wherein a single band of material is wrapped around the perimeter of the bottom panel and the bottom edges of the front panel, rear panel, and side panels.

6. A storage container as recited in claim 5, further comprising an additional single band of material wrapped around the perimeter of the open top end and the top edges of the front panel, rear panel, and side panels.

7. A storage container as recited in claim 6, further comprising an additional single band of material wrapped around the approximate vertical midpoint of the front panel, rear panel, and side panels.

8. A storage container as recited in claim 1, further comprising a lid to cover the open top end.

9. A storage container as recited in claim 8, wherein said lid has a main panel that sits inside the open top end and includes four hooks attached to said lid such that the hooked end of said hooks will hook on to the top edge of the front panel, rear panel, and side panels.

10. A storage container as recited in claim 8, wherein said lid has a main panel that rests on top of the open top end and includes a perimeter lip around the main panel such that the lip will cover the top edge of the front panel, rear panel, and side panels.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Not Applicable

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an improved storage container, more particularly for the storage of items where it is desirable to access the stored items in the order in which they were stored.

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention provides an improved apparatus for storing consumable products, such as individual servings of pumped breast milk. In particular, the present disclosure is directed to storage containers using a “first-in, first-out” storage method for the consumable products where the age or freshness of the consumable product is of importance to the extent that the stored products are organized such that the items are used in the same order they were stored.

2. Background

Storage containers have long been known and widely used for many purposes including the storage of consumable products. The present invention relates to an apparatus that enables the user to store a specific amount of a consumable product in an individual package, wherein the apparatus is designed to hold a plurality of said individual package. Existing storage containers provide for storage of a plurality of individual packages; however, the means for assuring usage of the first-stored individual package typically involves an inefficient and unreliable practice of placing the date on each individual package and searching through all of the stored individual packages for the one individual package with the oldest marked date. In the present invention, when choosing one of the individual packages for consumption of the consumable product, the user can remove only the desired amount in a more convenient manner while guaranteed of safely and efficiently removing the individual package that has been stored for the longest amount of time. This is of particular concern with certain consumable products, such as pumped breast milk, where longevity and freshness are critical for health and safety reasons. In addition, breast milk is commonly pumped and then stored in plastic bags, which can be difficult to mark and cumbersome to sort through.

In the present invention, efficient and reliable removal of the first-stored individual package is accomplished through a first-in, first-out process. In this process, the first prepared individual package is placed inside the storage container on top of the base of said storage container. Subsequently prepared individual storage packages will be placed in the storage container sequentially on top of the most recently stored individual package or once on the base of the storage container in the event all of the previously stored individual packages have been used. In order to accomplish the first-in, first-out process, the first-stored individual package is removed from the storage container through a small slot cut in the front panel of the storage container near the bottom of the storage container, such that the individual package resting on top of the base at the bottom of a stack of stored individual packages is the individual package that is removed from the storage container. Consequently, the stack of individual packages will drop down inside the storage container such that the individual packages can easily be removed in the exact same order in which they were stored in the storage container.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a storage container made of a thin, durable, and flexible, non-corrosive material such as plastic, which has a bottom panel located at its bottom edge. A hard base made of a durable, non-corrosive material such as plastic is designed to sit inside the storage container and fits on top of the bottom panel. Extending up from the bottom panel are a continuous front panel, a continuous rear panel, and two continuous side panels, made of the same material as the bottom panel. Each of these four panels terminates at the upper edge of the storage container, which is open. The front panel of the storage container further includes an open slot located just above the bottom edge of the storage container. The slot is as wide as the front panel and narrow in height. In addition, a small pull tab in the shape of a loop, which can be used to move the storage container horizontally along its base, is attached to the front panel, below the upper edge of the storage container. Further, a handle is attached to each side panel near the upper edge of the storage container, to allow for lifting of the storage container. In order to provide stability to the storage container, a band of flexible, durable material is wrapped around the perimeter of the storage container's base and attached to the front, rear, and side panels at the bottom edge of the storage container. Additional bands of flexible durable, material are wrapped around the storage container, parallel to the band at the bottom edge, at the upper edge and also at an approximate vertical midpoint of the storage container to provide further stability. Alternatively, a flat lid made of a durable, hard material, which fits inside the opening of the storage container near its upper edge is also provided. The lid can be easily attached to and removed from the storage container at its upper edge through connectors such as small hooks or the like, which are attached to the edges of the lid and will hook on to the upper edge of the storage container. An additional alternative lid, also made of a durable, hard material, is also provided. This alternative lid is designed like a lid for a typical shoebox with a flat surface and a short lip extending uniformly downward around the perimeter of the flat surface. The alternative lid is of sufficient size to rest on top of the storage container's upper edge, with the lip of the alternative lid partially covering the uppermost ends of the front panel, rear panel, and side panels of the storage container.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

In the drawings, which form a part of this application,

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of the storage container, which includes a stored single serving storage bag shown for illustrative purposes only.

FIG. 2 shows a front view of the storage container.

FIG. 3 shows a top plan view of the storage container.

FIG. 4 shows a side view of the storage container.

FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of the optional lid for the storage container.

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of the alternative (shoebox style) lid for the storage container.

FIG. 7 shows a perspective view of the base that sets inside the storage container.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts, there is shown in FIG. 1 the preferred embodiment of the storage container, constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention. Unless otherwise noted, the components of the storage container are to be constructed of a durable, non-corrosive material such as plastic or a washable fabric. The bottom panel 1 is of sufficient strength to provide stability and support the weight of the base 7 and multiple single serving storage bags 12 filled with a typical liquid, such that the storage container is filled to capacity. In the preferred embodiment, the bottom panel 1 is rectangular with the two shorter sides of the bottom panel 1 being aligned with the front panel 2 and the rear panel 4, while the two longer sides of the base 1 are aligned with the two side panels 5. While the rectangular shape is preferred due to the ability to accommodate the common configuration of single serving storage bags 12, other configurations for the base 1, and accordingly the base 7 and the two styles of lids 13, 15, as well as the storage container generally, are considered and it is intended that other configurations or perimeter shapes for storage containers fall within the scope of this disclosure. Additionally, the specific dimensions of the bottom panel 1 may vary and still remain within the scope of this disclosure.

Referring now to FIG. 7, details of a base 7 for use with the preferred embodiment of the storage container is shown. In the preferred embodiment, the base 7 is made of a durable, hard, non-corrosive material, such as plastic or a durable washable fabric. The base 7 is rectangular in shape and sized to fit easily, but snugly, within the storage container, sitting on top of the bottom panel 1. Like the bottom panel 1, the specific dimensions of the base 7 may vary and still remain within the scope of this disclosure. The base 7 is also of sufficient thickness to provide stability to the storage container and to support the weight of multiple single serving storage bags 12 filled with a typical liquid, when the storage container is filled to capacity. In the preferred embodiment, the hard base 7 is removable from the storage container, such that the storage container is collapsible for ease in storing when the storage container is not in use.

As shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 4, the front panel 2, rear panel 4, and side panels 5 of the storage container are all rectangular in shape and each panel is attached at its respective bottom edges to corresponding edges of the bottom panel 1 and extend upwardly from the perimeter of each side of the bottom panel 1. The front panel 2, rear panel 4, and side panels 5 also each terminate at the same height creating an open rectangular top end 16 of the storage container that has approximately the same dimensions as the bottom panel 1. The left and right edges of the front panel 2 are also attached to a corresponding side panel 5 at the respective front edges of each side panel 5. Similarly, the left and right edges of the rear panel 4 are also attached to a corresponding side panel 5 at the respective rear edges of each side panel 5.

Near the bottom edge of the front panel 2, just above where the front panel is connected to the bottom panel 1, a slot 3 is cut out of the front panel 2. The width of the slot 3 is approximately the same as the width of the front panel 2. The lower edge of the slot 3 is located on the front panel 2 at a point where it approximately lines up with the top surface of the base 7 when it is placed on the bottom panel 1 inside the storage container. The overall height of the slot 3 is large enough such that a single serving storage bag 12 containing a quantity of liquid that has been stored in the storage container can be removed from its stored position on the base 7 by the user when the user reaches in the slot 3 and pulls on the single serving storage bag 12. Further, the overall height of the slot 3 is preferably minimized such that a single serving storage bag 12 stored in the storage container will not inadvertently fall out of the slot 3 unless the single serving storage bag 12 is pulled through the slot 3 by the user.

Additionally, in the preferred embodiment of the storage container, as shown in FIG. 1, the front panel 2 has a pull tab 8. The pull tab 8 is made of a durable, non-corrosive material such as plastic or a washable fabric. A single, narrow piece of material, relatively short in length, is connected at two proximate points on the face of the front panel 2 to create a small loop, which constitutes the pull tab 8. The overall length of the pull tab 8 may vary, but should minimally be enough for the user to grab the pull tab 8 with the user's fingers. The pull tab 8 is preferably centered horizontally on the front panel 2 and located vertically near the upper edge of the front panel 2. This preferred location of the pull tab 8 will provide stability to the storage container when the pull tab 8 is used to drag the storage container along its bottom panel 1.

Also, in the preferred embodiment of the storage container, as show in FIG. 1, a single handle 6 is attached to one of the side panels 5, while an identical handle 6 is connected to the opposite side panel 5. The handles 6 are made of a durable, non-corrosive material such as plastic or a washable fabric. Each handle 6 is made of a single piece of material, which is connected at two distinct points on either the exterior or interior of its corresponding side panel 5 or, alternatively, at the top end 16. If the handles 6 are connected to the interior or exterior of the side panels 5, the connection points are preferably located vertically just below the upper edge of the side panel 5 and are located horizontally at points approximately half-way between the front and rear edges of the side panel 5 and the horizontal midpoint of the side panel 5, respectively. The overall length of each handle 6 may vary, but should minimally be enough for the user to grab both handles 6 simultaneously with one hand to lift and carry the storage container. Accordingly, the thickness of the handles 6 and the strength of the connections between each handle 6 and its corresponding side panel 5 should be sufficient so that the handles 6 will not break and will remain attached to the side panels 5 when the user lifts the storage container when it is filled with single serving storage bags 12 that are filled with liquid.

As shown in FIG. 1, a lower band 9 consisting of a narrow single strip of material is wrapped around the exterior of the storage container at the perimeter of the bottom panel 1. The lower band 9 is attached to the bottom panel 1 and the lower edges of the front panel 2, side panels 5, and rear panel 4. A middle band 10 consisting of a narrow single strip of material is wrapped around the exterior of the storage container. The middle band 10 is parallel to the lower band 9 and is located vertically at the approximate midpoint of the storage container's overall height. The middle band 10 is attached to the front panel 2, side panels 5, and rear panel 4. An upper band 11 consisting of a narrow single strip of material is wrapped around the perimeter of the top end 16 of the storage container. The upper band 11 is parallel to the lower band 9 and the middle band 10 and is attached to both the interior and exterior of the front panel 2, side panels 5, and rear panel 4. The lower band 9, middle band 10, and upper band 11 provide additional stability to the storage container.

As shown in FIG. 5, an optional lid 13 for the storage container is also disclosed. The lid 13 is made of a durable, hard, non-corrosive material, such as plastic or a washable fabric. In the preferred embodiment, the lid 13 is rectangular in shape and sized to fit within the storage container at the top end 16. The specific dimensions of the lid 13 may vary and still remain within the scope of this disclosure. The lid 13 is of sufficient thickness to support the weight of a single serving storage bag 12 when filled with a typical liquid. Attached to the lid 13 are four hooks 14 made of a hard, durable, non-corrosive material such as plastic. Each one of the hooks 14 is located proximate to one of the four corners of the lid 13 and is attached to the lid 13 such that the hooked end of each hook 14 extends upward away from the lid 13. When in use, the lid 13 is attached the storage container by placing the hooked ends of each hook 14 on the top end 16 of the storage container. In addition to providing a cover for the storage container, the lid 13 can be used to lie out flat a single serving storage bag 12 filled with a liquid for freezing so that the single serving storage bag 12 can eventually be optimally stored in the storage container and easily removed through the slot 3 of the storage container.

Alternatively, as shown in FIG. 6, a box lid 15 may be optionally used with the storage container. The box lid 15 is made of a durable, hard, non-corrosive material, such as plastic. In the preferred embodiment, the main surface of the box lid 15 is rectangular in shape and has a uniform lip extending a short distance away from the main surface of the box lid 15 around the perimeter of the main surface of the box lid 15. The box lid 15 is sized to fit on top of the storage container at the top end 16 with the lip of the box lid 15 covering the exterior of the storage container at the upper edges of the front panel 2, side panels 5, and rear panel 4. The specific dimensions of the box lid 15 may vary and still remain within the scope of this disclosure. The box lid 15 is of sufficient thickness to support the weight of a single serving storage bag 12 when filled with a typical liquid. Similarly to the lid 13, when in use, the box lid 15, in addition to providing a cover for the storage container, can be used to lie out flat a single serving storage bag 12 filled with a liquid for freezing so that the single serving storage bag 12 can eventually be optimally stored in the storage container and easily removed through the slot 3 of the storage container.

It should be understood that the foregoing disclosure relates primarily to the preferred embodiment of the invention and that numerous modifications or alterations may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.





 
Previous Patent: ALL-TERRAIN BERM

Next Patent: Carton With Container