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Laundry organizer

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20140224681 patent thumbnailZoom

Laundry organizer


A laundry organizer has a plurality of enhanced laundry bags suspended by a plurality of drop bars and a cross bar. The organizer can be hung from doors, walls, seat-backs, chair-backs, etc. and encourages people to pre-sort and organize dirty laundry. In another embodiment, appealing animal likenesses are incorporated into the mouths of the laundry bags in order to interest children in using the system. In yet other embodiments, sports team names, logos, cartoon characters, comic book characters, personalities, caricatures, faces, or other two- or three-dimensional depictions can be incorporated onto the mouths of the bags to further enhance the desire of people to utilize the system. The enhanced laundry bags can be used to organize and hold other items.
Related Terms: Children Doors Characters Logos

USPTO Applicaton #: #20140224681 - Class: 206278 (USPTO) -
Special Receptacle Or Package > For Apparel

Inventors: Plashan Mccune

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20140224681, Laundry organizer.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/764,362 entitled LAUNDRY SORTER SYSTEM and filed on Feb. 13, 2013, which is specifically incorporated by reference herein for all that it discloses and teaches.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates generally to the field of household conveniences; more particularly, to laundry and its handling after use but prior to being laundered; and more particularly still, to a laundry organizer apparatus to enhance and improve tidiness and organization while increasing the efficiency of handling dirty laundry.

BACKGROUND

Hundreds of years ago, many people owned very few changes of clothes. Clothing was expensive to make and purchase and standards of cleanliness were generally lower than they are now, allowing clothes to be worn for longer periods between cleanings. However, with the advent of the industrial revolution, and the huge increases in automation in recent years, the production of textiles has boomed while the costs have dropped precipitously. As a result, this has allowed many people to own a large variety of clothes. Similarly, as powered washing machines have become less expensive and more ubiquitous, the task of cleaning those clothes has become much easier to do in bulk, instead of cleaning garments individually or in piecemeal. Together, these trends have led to the currently common situation of people wearing clothes only once or twice before grouping them together with other previously worn garments (and other dirty laundry) in preparation for future laundering.

In order to organize dirty laundry prior to laundering, many devices and systems have been developed. For example, a laundry hamper is a common fixture in the laundry room or bathrooms of many homes. In others, people keep individual hampers in each bedroom to ease collection of laundry. However, small children often fail to remember to put dirty clothes in such devices and instead leave garments on the floor after changing, getting ready for bed/shower/bath, etc. Furthermore, dirty clothes collection devices such as hampers and baskets take up valuable floor space and often are unappealing in appearance. Additionally, such devices require that laundry sorting be completed prior to laundering as within hampers, whites are mixed with darks, fabric types are jumbled together, etc.

What is needed is a laundry organizer that does not take up valuable floor space, assists in the pre-sorting of dirty laundry prior to laundering, allows for easy transference to the laundry room, incentivizes kids (and others) to be tidy and put-away/organize dirty clothes, and otherwise increases the efficient handling of laundry between use and laundering.

SUMMARY

One embodiment of the present invention comprises a laundry organizer having a plurality of laundry bags suspended by a novel adjustable suspension apparatus that can be hung from doors, walls, seat-backs, chair-backs, etc. and encourages people to pre-sort and organize dirty laundry. In another embodiment, appealing animal likenesses are incorporated into the mouths of the laundry bags in order to interest children in using the system. In yet other embodiments, sports team names, logos, cartoon characters, comic book characters, personalities, caricatures, faces, or other two- or three-dimensional depictions can be incorporated onto the mouths of the bags to further enhance the desire of people to utilize the system. The enhanced laundry bags can be used to organize and hold other items and can be hung without the suspension apparatus.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The aforementioned and other features and objects of the present invention and the manner of attaining them will become more apparent and the invention itself will be best understood by reference to the following descriptions of a preferred embodiment and other embodiments taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates a front perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer hanging from a door;

FIG. 2 illustrates a front perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting drop bars and cross bar components;

FIG. 3 illustrates front elevation view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting a cross bar component;

FIG. 4 illustrates a side elevation view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting a cross bar component;

FIG. 5 illustrates a top plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting a cross bar component;

FIG. 6 illustrates a front elevation view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting a drop bar component;

FIG. 7 illustrates a side elevation view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting a drop bar component; and

FIG. 8 illustrates a front perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of an enhanced laundry bag that can be used in a laundry organizer.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 1 illustrates a front perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer 100 hanging from a door 90. The laundry organizer 100 is shown in its over-the-door configuration, being suspended from the top edge 92 of the door 90. The plurality of enhanced laundry bags 300 illustrated in FIG. 1 number two, in other embodiments, the number can be one, two, three, four, or more.

The door 90 is shown in FIG. 1 as having a plurality of panels 91, as is common for interior doors in residential settings. In other embodiments, the laundry organizer 100 can be suspended from other types of doors, including, but not limited to: closet doors, folding doors, furniture doors, cabinet doors, exterior doors, etc. Furthermore, in other embodiments, the laundry organizer 100 can be mounted to a wall or other generally vertical surface using the cross bar 250 (for a more thorough discussion of this mounting option, see FIG. 3). In yet other embodiments, the laundry organizer 100 can hang from a ceiling, the back of a car seat or chair, a window frame, or any other suitable location. Additionally, a modified support apparatus is contemplated to locate the enhanced laundry bags 300 in non-door locations; and the bags may be used to organize items besides laundry.

In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the laundry organizer 100 utilizes at least two drop bars 210 and 220 to hang the system from the top edge 92 of the door 90. The drop bars 210 and 220 hook over the top edge 92 and hang down the face of the door 90. Although the drop bars 210 and 220 utilize over-the-door hook portions, they are not visible in FIG. 1, see FIGS. 2 and 7. The drop bars 210 and 220 can removably connect to a cross bar 250 which serves to keep the drop bars 210 and 220 separated a fixed distance from each other, provides an additional expansion hook option, and adds rigidity to the laundry organizer 100.

The cross bar 250 provides a plurality of laundry bag suspension slots 252 (see FIG. 2 for more detail) from which a plurality of laundry bag suspension straps 260 can be suspended. As illustrated in FIG. 1, each laundry bag 300 utilizes two laundry bag suspension straps 260. In other embodiments, each laundry bag 300 can use one, two, three or more suspension straps 260. Each suspension strap 260 utilizes a laundry bag suspension slot 252. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, two slots 252 are used per enhanced laundry bag 300. A standard cross bar 250 incorporates a plurality of laundry bag suspension slots 252; FIG. 1 illustrates a cross bar with eight slots 252, more or fewer slots 252 are contemplated in other embodiments.

FIG. 2 illustrates a front perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting two drop bars 210 and 220 and a cross bar 250. In order to grasp and hold the top edge of a door, the drop bars 210 and 220 utilize over-the-door hook portions 212 and 222. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, the over-the-door hook portions 212 and 222 are sized to fit over a standard residential door; in other embodiments, the hook portions 212 and 222 can be sized to fit over other doors.

Opposite the hook portions 212 and 222, the drop bars 210 and 220 utilize cross bar locking mechanisms 214 and 224. The cross bar locking mechanisms 214 and 224 engage a plurality of hanging cutouts 254 in the cross bar 250 and thereby suspend the cross bar 250. For more detail on the cross bar locking mechanisms 214 and 224, see FIGS. 3-4 and 6-7.

The plurality of laundry bag suspension slots 252 illustrated in FIG. 2 are distributed across the face of the cross bar 250. The laundry bag suspension slots 252 each provide an attachment point for a laundry bag suspension strap 260 to attach to the cross bar 250. Eight laundry bag suspension slots 252 are illustrated in the embodiment shown in FIG. 2; in other embodiments, the number of slots 252 can be greater than or less than eight.

A plurality of expansion hooks 256 is also illustrated in FIG. 2. The plurality of expansion hooks 256 allows the laundry organizer 100 to be expanded by adding additional drop bar(s) suspended from the cross bar 250. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, only a single expansion hook 256 is shown; other embodiments may use more or fewer. Additionally, other items besides additional drop bars may utilize the plurality of expansion hooks 256.

FIG. 3 illustrates front elevation view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting a cross bar component 250. The cross bar 250 can be a generally rectangular member that has a slim profile. The cross bar 250 is a sort of utility bar in that it provides all the connection points to connect the various components of the laundry organizer together.

The drop bars 210 and 220 utilize cross bar locking mechanisms 214 and 224 (not illustrated in FIG. 3, see other Figures). The cross bar locking mechanisms 214 and 224 engage a plurality of hanging cutouts 254 in the cross bar 250 and thereby suspend the cross bar 250. Above each hanging cutout 254 is a locking dimple 255. The plurality of locking dimples 255 each comprise a small dome that extends outwards from the surface of the cross bar 250 and provides a means for locking the drop bars to the cross bar (for more information, see FIG. 6, locking dimple receiver 215).

The plurality of laundry bag suspension slots 252 illustrated in FIG. 3 are distributed across the face of the cross bar 250. The laundry bag suspension slots 252 each provide an attachment point for a laundry bag suspension strap 260 to attach to the cross bar 250. Eight laundry bag suspension slots 252 are illustrated in the embodiment shown in FIG. 3; in other embodiments, the number of slots 252 can be greater than or less than eight.

A plurality of expansion hooks 256 is also illustrated in FIG. 3. The plurality of expansion hooks 256 allows the laundry organizer 100 to be expanded by adding additional drop bar(s) suspended from the cross bar 250. In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 3, only a single expansion hook 256 is shown; other embodiments may use more or fewer. Additionally, other items besides additional drop bars may utilize the plurality of expansion hooks 256.

A plurality of direct attachment means 258 is illustrated in FIG. 3 as well. Each direct attachment means 258 comprises one or more ports in the cross bar 250 that can receive a screw, nail, or similar device to directly attach the cross bar 250 to a wall, door, or other structure. In a direct-attachment configuration, the laundry organizer would not need to employ drop bars to suspend the cross bar as the direct attachment means 258 accomplishes the task of suspending the cross bar.

FIG. 4 illustrates a side elevation view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting a cross bar component 250. The slim profile of the cross bar 250 can be seen in FIG. 4. In other embodiments, a thicker or thinner cross bar 250 can be utilized in the laundry organizer. Also visible in FIG. 4 is a locking dimple 255. Note how the dimple 255 extends outwards from the face of the cross bar 250. It provides a means to lock a drop bar to the cross bar by engaging a locking dimple receiver (see FIG. 6) on the drop bar.

The expansion hook 256 is also illustrated in FIG. 4. It also extends outwards from the surface of the cross bar 250. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the expansion hook 256 matches the basic shape and profile of the cross bar locking mechanisms 214 and 224 (see FIGS. 6 and 7).

FIG. 5 illustrates a top plan view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting a cross bar component 250. Just visible in FIG. 5 are the plurality of locking dimples 255. Note how each locking dimple 255 extends outwards from the face of the cross bar 250. It provides a means to lock a drop bar to the cross bar by engaging a locking dimple receiver (see FIG. 6) on the drop bar. The expansion hook 256 is also illustrated in FIG. 5.

FIG. 6 illustrates a front elevation view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting a drop bar component 210. The laundry organizer 100 can utilize a plurality of drop bars 210. The over-the-door hook portion 212 is not fully visible in FIG. 6, see FIG. 7. On the opposite end of the drop bar 210 from the hook portion 212 is the cross bar locking mechanism 214. Each cross bar locking mechanism 214 utilizes a cross bar hook 216 that extends out from the face 211 of the drop bar 210 and is adapted to slide into and engage one of the plurality of hanging cutouts 254 on the cross bar. The cross bar hook 216 is spaced outwards from the face of the drop bar 210 just enough for the cross bar 250 to slide between the cross bar hook 216 and the face of the drop bar 210. The compression fit of the two components is further enhanced via the locking dimple receiver 215 and a locking dimple 255. When properly emplaced, the locking dimple 255 on the cross bar 250 snaps into the locking dimple receiver 215 and locks the drop bar 210 to the cross bar 250. Although the cross bar locking mechanism 214 thereby securely locks the drop bar to the cross bar, a user can simply unlock the two by disengaging the locking dimple 255 from the locking dimple receiver 215 and sliding the cross bar up and out of the cross bar locking mechanism 214.

FIG. 7 illustrates a side elevation view of an exemplary embodiment of a laundry organizer highlighting a drop bar component 210. Although only one drop bar 210 is illustrated in FIG. 7, the laundry organizer 100 can utilize a plurality of drop bars 210, each being similar to the exemplary drop bar 210 shown in FIG. 7.

The over-the-door hook portion 212 is fully visible in FIG. 7. Note how the over-the-door hook portion 212 is adapted to fit over the top edge of a door. It has a basically rectangular “U” contour in order to more closely match the cross section of a door top. This allows the drop bar to grasp and hold the top edge of a door more easily. It should be clear that the friction fit grip of the over-the-door hook portion 212 securely holds the drop bar onto the door 90. On the opposite end of the drop bar 210 from the hook portion 212 is the cross bar locking mechanism 214.

Each cross bar locking mechanism 214 utilizes a cross bar hook 216 that extends out from the face 211 of the drop bar 210 and is adapted to slide into and engage one of the plurality of hanging cutouts 254 on the cross bar. The cross bar hook 216 is spaced outwards from the face 211 of the drop bar 210 just enough for the cross bar 250 to slide between the cross bar hook 216 and the face 211 of the drop bar 210 and form a friction fit therebetween.

FIG. 8 illustrates a front perspective view of an exemplary embodiment of an enhanced laundry bag 300 that can be used in a laundry organizer. The hanging bag portion 380 is supported by a rim 382 and a handle edge 381. The hanging bag portion 380 hangs from the rim 382 and handle edge 381 and these two components form the mouth of the bag. Laundry can be inserted into this mouth in order to fill the enhanced laundry bag 300. Once full, the bag can be removed from the laundry organizer and hauled to the laundry facility. Alternatively, the bag can be dumped into a portable laundry gathering container and hung back up on the laundry organizer 100. In another embodiment, the bottom of the bag can incorporate an opening that can be selectively opened and closed (through the use of a zipper, hook and loop material, or other means), thereby allowing the laundry gatherer to simply open the bottom of the bag and extract the clothes therefrom without removing the enhanced laundry bag from the laundry organizer 100.

The enhanced laundry bag 300 is suspended from and attached to the laundry organizer via the plurality of bag loops 385. The bag loops 385 are attached to the handle edge 381 and/or rim 382. The plurality of bag loops 385 provide a location for the plurality of laundry bag suspension straps 260 to attach. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, each enhanced laundry bag has two bag loops 385; in other embodiments more or fewer bag loops 385 can be utilized.

A use-enhancer 388 can be configured at the mouth of the enhanced laundry bag 300. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 8, the use-enhancer 388 is a simple depiction of a smiling face. In another embodiment, appealing animal likenesses are incorporated into the mouths of the laundry bags in order to interest children in using the system. In yet other embodiments, sports team names; logos; cartoon characters; comic book characters; personalities; caricatures; faces; characters from television programs, movies, popular culture, and works of fiction; or other two- or three-dimensional depictions can be incorporated onto the mouths of the bags as use-enhancers 388. A secondary handle 387 can be useful when a person is attempting to remove the filled laundry bag 300. Although not depicted in FIG. 8, the secondary handle 387 can have a handle latch or closure device that allows the user to latch the enhanced laundry bag 300 into a closed position.

The hanging bag portion 380 of the enhanced laundry bag 300 can be a mesh material, or any other suitable laundry bag material. The cross-hatching shown in FIG. 8 is meant to resemble common mesh materials that are currently known and used in the art in order to allow dirty clothes to breath and dry, thereby minimizing the growth of bacteria, mold, etc.

As one exemplary embodiment, an enhanced laundry bag 300 could be configured to resemble a white poodle, where the mouth of the bag is the poodle\'s mouth. This enhanced laundry bag could be the “whites” bag (and could even be labeled as such) for receiving white clothes therein. A second enhanced laundry bag could have a “black cat” use-enhancer 388 and could be the “dark-clothes” bag. Additional bags can be incorporated as needed or desired.

While particular embodiments of the invention have been described and disclosed in the present application, it should be understood that any number of permutations, modifications, or embodiments may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of this invention. Accordingly, it is not the intention of this application to limit this invention in any way except as by the appended claims.

Particular terminology used when describing certain features or aspects of the invention should not be taken to imply that the terminology is being redefined herein to be restricted to any specific characteristics, features, or aspects of the invention with which that terminology is associated. In general, the terms used in the following claims should not be construed to limit the invention to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification, unless the above “Detailed Description” section explicitly defines such terms. Accordingly, the actual scope of the invention encompasses not only the disclosed embodiments, but also all equivalent ways of practicing or implementing the invention.

The above detailed description of the embodiments of the invention is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise embodiment or form disclosed herein or to the particular field of usage mentioned in this disclosure. While specific embodiments of, and examples for, the invention are described above for illustrative purposes, various equivalent modifications are possible within the scope of the invention, as those skilled in the relevant art will recognize. Also, the teachings of the invention provided herein can be applied to other systems, not necessarily the system described above. The elements and acts of the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments.

In light of the above “Detailed Description,” the Inventor may make changes to the invention. While the detailed description outlines possible embodiments of the invention and discloses the best mode contemplated, no matter how detailed the above appears in text, the invention may be practiced in a myriad of ways. Thus, implementation details may vary considerably while still being encompassed by the spirit of the invention as disclosed by the inventor. As discussed herein, specific terminology used when describing certain features or aspects of the invention should not be taken to imply that the terminology is being redefined herein to be restricted to any specific characteristics, features, or aspects of the invention with which that terminology is associated.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20140224681 A1
Publish Date
08/14/2014
Document #
14179935
File Date
02/13/2014
USPTO Class
206278
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
47G29/02
Drawings
9


Children
Doors
Characters
Logos


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