CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION
- FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/669,441, filed Apr. 8, 2005, the entire disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.
- DISCUSSION OF RELATED ART
The present invention relates generally to purses, pocketbooks, diaper bags and other carryall bags, and more particularly to an organizational system for organizing and managing items carried of one or more such bags.
As used herein, a “carryall bag” may have any one of many different forms, such as a purse, pocketbook, diaper bag, briefcase, duffle bag, tote bag, etc. By their very nature, carryall bags are meant to carry a large number of miscellaneous items, any of which may be needed at a given time. In the example of a purse, carried items may include personal effects such as a checkbook, glasses, sunglasses, contact case, calling cards, cigarettes, cigarette lighter, pen, pills, lipstick, raincoat, tissues, charge cards, pictures, wallet, key rings, cosmetics, toothbrush, hair brush, hair spray, soap, sunscreen, hand lotion, chewing gum, candy and a folding umbrella.
Many purses include only one main compartment into which most or all of these items are placed. Accordingly, all carried items become intermingled in a loose, free-form collection at the bottom of the purse compartment. It is therefore difficult to find a particular item, and searching for the desired item becomes an exercise in rooting through the collection of items, removing items from the purse, etc.
Some purses (or other carryall bags) have been provided with individual pockets internal to or external to the main compartment. Such pockets are typically integral to the purse structure, e.g. are sewn into a lining, etc. Many such examples are known in the art.
Continuing with the example of purses, it is common that a particular woman will own and use several different purses generally concurrently, each purse being particularly suitable to a different one of several occasions. For example, one purse may be particularly well suited for a trip to the grocery store while another is particularly well suited to a black-tie dinner affair. In this case, the purses' owner must individually remove all of the items from one purse and transfer them to another. To alleviate this problem, there have been invented various purse inserts. These inserts allow for transfer of all items from one purse to the other by simply transferring the insert. These purse inserts vary in structure and include a pocket having several vertically stacked partitions and flexible fabric inserts that have numerous specialized pockets, snaps and flaps. Examples of these inserts are shown by Ody in U.S. Pat. No. 3,533,459, Wilson in U.S. Pat. No. 2,893,457, Holden in U.S. Pat. No. 2,464,312, and Smith in U.S. Pat. No. 1,999,669.
- SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
A major problem with such purse inserts is that the structures defining the individual pockets and compartments are not rigid and/or self-supporting. Rather, they are made of flexible fabric, cloth and/or other supple materials and/or depend upon the structure of the purse itself for structural support. This prevents the insert from being usable in a practical manner apart from its use in conjunction with the purse. Further, prior art arrangements fail to provide an array of side-by-side open compartments, each of which is readily accessible from an opening at the top of the purse/bag. Further still, the various prior art arrangements fail to provide for various different combinations of individual storage compartments to allow one combination of compartments to be used with one purse (e.g. the grocery shopping purse) and another combination of compartments to be used with another purse (e.g. the dinner affair purse). For example, a plurality of discrete compartments may be provided that are configured to be selectively interconnected and disconnected in modular fashion to provide different combinations of individual storage compartments.
The present invention provides an organizational system for carryall bags, such as purses. The organizational system includes an outer bag body and a rigid storage basket configured to fit within the outer bag body. The outer bag body may have any suitable structure, such as a conventional purse structure that includes a shoulder strap and a zipper-closable top. The storage basket preferably includes multiple individual storage compartments arranged adjacent one another with a respective open end of each storage compartment arranged adjacent one another so that all individual storage compartments are readily accessible from an opening at the top of the purse/bag when the basket is positioned within the bag body. Any desired configuration of compartments, and combinations of compartments, may be provided. A purse, carry-all bag, etc. including an exemplary rigid storage basket provides readily accessible, plainly visible, open-top, compartmentalized storage for personal effects.
In one embodiment, the rigid storage basket 50 is fixedly attached to the bag body 10 so as not to be readily removable therefrom. In such an embodiment, the storage basket is intended to be used with only a single bag body, namely the attached bag body. In this manner, the storage basket acts primarily as a divider, to define compartments for use in separating, organizing and containing one's personal effects.
In another embodiment, the rigid storage basket is readily removable from the outer bag body and is self-supporting such that the basket may be removed from the purse and placed upright on a kitchen countertop, table, vanity, etc. to provide organization to the basket's contents without the need for any support from a bag body. Optionally, the organizational system includes one or more interchangeable bag bodies, and one or more interchangeable storage baskets, so that a single storage basket may be carried within one of several different bag bodies, and/or a single bag body may carry any one of several different storage baskets. Accordingly, for example, a single storage basket storing a variety of personal effects may be moved from one purse (e.g. the grocery shopping purse) and another combination of compartments to be used with another purse (e.g. the black tie affair purse).
Optionally, the organizational system further includes a receptacle that defines a socket configured to receive a removable storage basket. For example, the receptacle may be retained on a countertop, etc. and the storage basket may be moved from a purse to the receptacle while the purse's owner is at home so that ready access may be had to personal effects without the burden of searching in a purse, and yet all such personal effects may be easily moved to a bag body when the owner wishes to leave the home. The receptacle may be configured to support the storage basket in an embodiment in which the storage basket is not sufficiently self-supporting.
- BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
In either a removable or non-removable embodiment, the storage basket may include multiple removable liners, such as a rigid plastic trays, each being positionable within one of its individual storage compartments. In one embodiment, the liners and storage baskets are of an interchangeable design. In this manner, personal effects are placed in the individual liners, and each liner with its personal effects contents may be individually removed from one purse/basket (e.g. the grocery shopping purse) to another purse or storage basket (e.g. the dinner affair purse or the counter top mounting receptacle basket) to provide for various different combinations of individual storage compartments to allow various combinations of individual liners/storage compartments.
The present invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the following drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a side view of an exemplary purse-style carryall bag body for use in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top view of the bag body of FIG. 1, shown open and housing therein an exemplary storage basket in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 2A is a top view of an alternative embodiment of the storage basket of FIG. 2;
FIG. 3 is a side view of the exemplary storage basket of FIG. 2;
FIGS. 4-6 are top views of the bag body and storage basket of FIG. 2, showing compatibility of the storage basket with another bag body and a mounting receptacle;
FIGS. 7-9 are side views of FIGS. 4-6;
FIGS. 10-12 are top views of the bag body, storage basket and mounting receptacle of FIGS. 4-6, further illustrating individual removable liners and the interchangeability of same;
FIG. 13 is a side view of an alternate embodiment of a bag body in accordance with the present invention;
FIG. 14 is a perspective view of the bag body of FIG. 13 and an exemplary storage basket for removable insertion therein; and
- DETAILED DESCRIPTION
FIG. 15 is a top view of an alternative embodiment of the organizational system of FIG. 14 in which the storage basket is positioned in and fixed to the bag body.
The present invention provides an organizational system for carryall bags. The organizational system includes an outer bag body 10 and a rigid storage basket 50 configured to fit within the outer bag body 10, as best shown in FIGS. 1-3. For illustrative purposes, reference is made herein to the embodiments shown in the drawings, in the context of a purse-type carryall bag. It should be understood that the present invention is equally applicable to other types of carryall bags, and that the actual size, dimensions, configurations and relative positioning of the various components of the organizational system will vary according to the size, shape and functions desired in any particular usage.
The outer bag body may have any suitable structure, such as a conventional purse structure. FIG. 1 is a side view of an exemplary purse-style carryall bag body 10 for use in accordance with the present invention. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the exemplary bag body 10 is conventional in that it includes a base portion 12 defining an interior space 14 that is accessible through a bag opening 16 toward a top of the bag body. The interior space 14 is dimensioned to receive the storage basket 50 (FIG. 3), as best shown in FIG. 2.
Referring again to FIGS. 1 and 2, the exemplary purse bag body 10 includes a cover/flap 18 for covering the opening 16. The cover/flap 18 is selectively securable by a zipper closure 20. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, other bag designs include an opening, which may be closable by a zipper, snaps, etc., with or without such a cover/flap. The exemplary bag further includes a conventional strap 22, as best shown in FIG. 1, the strap being omitted for illustrative clarity in FIG. 2. It will be appreciated that the straps may be provided as shoulder straps, carrying handles, or for decorative purposes, as known in the art.
The base portion 12 and cover/flap 18 may be constructed of any suitable materials, particular conventional bag and/or purse materials such as leather, cotton, polyester, nylon, etc. that are flexible and not self-supporting. Accordingly, the bag body's materials may be selected for durability, washability and aesthetic appeal, without regard to a need for structural rigidity.
FIG. 2 is a top view of the bag body 10 of FIG. 1, shown open and housing therein an exemplary storage basket 50. FIG. 3 is a side view of the exemplary storage basket 50. The storage basket 50 is constructed of a rigid material such that it is structurally self supporting, so that it will not collapse or deform under its own weight, so as to maintain the storage basket's compartments in a defined open, accessible orientation. For example, a rigid plastic and a semi-rigid self-supporting manually flexible plastic (collectively referred to as “rigid”) have been found suitable for this purpose. The storage basket 50 defines one or more individual storage compartments 52 a, 52 b, 52 c, 52 d, 52 e, 52 f, 52 g, 52 h. Each storage compartment is essentially in the form of a cup or tray, in that it is substantially closed at a bottom end, has rigid sidewalls, and is open at its top end, such that it is capable of receiving and retaining personal effects of the type carried in a purse or bag. The compartments of a single storage basket need not be uniform in size or shape. Optionally, the storage basket 50 is made up of separate rigid-walled compartments, each having a bottom wall, top wall and open end, that have a modular, selectively interconnectable/disconnectable design to form storage baskets having various storage compartment configurations. Such individual compartments may be provided with complementary pins and sockets for the purpose, much like some conventional dishwasher utensil baskets. Preferably, the storage basket 50 is designed to occupy substantially all of the interior space, i.e., with little or no space between the storage basket and or storage inner surface of the bag body.
The individual compartments are arranged adjacent one another with a respective open end 54 a, 54 b, 52 c, 54 d, 54 e, 54 f, 54 g, 54 h of each storage compartment arranged adjacent one another, preferably in a substantially planar array, so that all individual storage compartments are positioned with their respective open ends readily manually accessible from an opening 16 at the top of the purse/bag body 10 when the storage basket 50 is positioned within the bag body 10, as best shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.
The storage basket 50 preferably includes a handle for carrying it apart from the bag body 10. The handle may have any suitable configuration. In the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. 2 and 3, the handle includes an integral fin 56 defining an opening 58 therethrough to provide a manually graspable handle. Alternatively, a flexible strap or rigid generally U-shaped handle may be attached at each end to opposite sides of the storage basket 50.
Referring to FIGS. 2 and 3, the storage basket 50 is constructed to be rigid and structurally self-supporting, such that the storage basket 50 may be removed from the bag body 10 and placed on a kitchen countertop, table, vanity, etc. while maintaining both its structural integrity and its organizational of the storage basket's contents without the need for any support from a bag body 10. Further, the storage basket 50 is configured with a relatively broad base to enable it to stand alone in an upright orientation and in a stable manner, without the need for additional support. By way of example, the storage basket 50 is preferably constructed of a rigid plastic material for this purpose, e.g. by injection molding to produce a unitary body. Optionally, the surfaces of the storage basket are completely solid, and the material is opaque, such that contents of the individual storage compartments can be determined only by looking through the open tops of the individual storage compartments.
In one embodiment, there are multiple individual compartments with that are identical in size, shape and/or configuration, such that array of identical compartments is provided. Optionally, a plurality, but not all, of adjacent compartments have identical sizes, shapes and configurations. Optionally, all compartments have identical sizes, shapes and configurations. Optionally, the storage basket's side wall is substantially perpendicular to the bottom wall, and each storage compartment defines a volume that is substantially cuboid or parallelepiped in shape.
FIGS. 4 and 7 are top and side views, respectively, of the bag body 10 and storage basket 50 of FIG. 2, with the cover/flap 18 omitted for illustrative clarity. FIGS. 5 and 8 are top and side views, respectively, of another, different bag body 10A. For example, bag body 10 may be a bag body of a woman's everyday purse (e.g., imprinted nylon), whereas bag body 10A may be a bag body of a woman's formal affair purse (e.g., patent leather). It should be noted that the individual bag bodies may be nearly identical with the exception of overall aesthetic appearance, or may be very dissimilar in that they bag bodies are of entirely different designs. In either event, the formal bag body 10A is similar everyday purse bag body 10 in that it also has a base portion 12A defining an interior space 14A. Further, both bag bodies are similar in that they are both sized to receive the storage basket 50, and in that the interior space 14A is accessible through a bag opening 16A toward a top of the bag body. Accordingly, the bag bodies 10, 10A are compatible and are both interchangeable with respect to the storage basket 50. Thus the storage basket, and all of its personal effects contents, may be moved from one bag body 10 to another bag body 10A easily and efficiently, while retaining the organization of the personal effects in the storage basket.
Accordingly, the organizational system may includes one or more interchangeable bag bodies, and one or more interchangeable storage baskets, so that a single storage basket may be carried within one of several different bag bodies, and/or a single bag body may carry any one of several different storage baskets.
Optionally, the organizational system further includes a receptacle 60 that defines a socket dimensioned and configured to receive the storage basket 50. FIGS. 6 and 9 are side and top views, respectively, of an exemplary receptacle 60. For example, the receptacle 60 may include one or more sidewalls 62 a, 62 b, 62 c, 62 d defining a closed loop and/or tray defining a socket 64 dimensioned to receive the storage basket 50. The receptacle 60 may include rubber or other slip-resistant feet 66 to help retain the receptacle 60 in a stable position on a horizontal surface, and to constrain movement and prevent tipping of any basket 50 positioned therein.
For example, the receptacle 60 may be retained on a kitchen countertop and the storage basket 50 may be moved from a purse (see bag 10, FIG. 7) to the receptacle 60 (FIG. 9) while the purse's owner is at home so that easy access may be had to the personal effects that were formerly carried within the purse/bag body 10, and that remain in the storage basket 50. Notably, such access may be had without the burden of rooting in a purse, and yet all such personal effects may be easily returned to a bag body 10, 10A when the owner wishes to leave the home, etc. In one embodiment, the receptacle 60 may be configured to support the storage basket 50 in an embodiment in which the storage basket 50 is not constructed of a rigid material and/or is not sufficiently self-supporting.
As shown in FIGS. 10-12, the organizational system optionally further includes multiple removable compartment liners 70 a, 70 b, 70 c, 70 d, 70 e, 70 f, 70 g, 70 h, 70 i, 70 j, 70 k, 70 l, 70 m, 70 n, 70 o, 70 p, etc. This is particularly advantageous when the organizational system includes more than one storage basket or receptacle 60. Each liner generally has the form of a rigid plastic tray that is dimensioned and/or contoured to be positionable within one of the storage basket's individual storage compartments. Accordingly, each compartment and liner acts like a pair of nested cups. Thus, the liners and storage baskets are of a compatible design, such that each liner will fit within at least one storage compartment of more than one storage basket. In such an embodiment, liners are positioned within the individual storage compartments of the storage baskets 50, 50 a, 50 b, before personal effects are placed therein. Groups of personal effects are designated by the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O and P in FIGS. 10-12.
Accordingly, groups of personal effects can be moved among multiple bag bodies on a per-compartment basis, rather than on the per-basket basis discussed above with reference to FIGS. 4-9. Accordingly, personal effects in groups D and H can be moved from one storage basket 50/bag body 10 to another storage basket 50 a/bag body 10A, by moving only the corresponding liners 70 d, 70 h, while the storage basket 50 and remaining groups of personal effects A, B, C, E, F and G remain in bag body 10, as shown in FIGS. 10 and 11. Thus, each liner with its respective personal effects contents may be individually removed from one purse/basket (e.g. the grocery shopping purse) to another purse/basket (e.g. the black tie affair purse or the counter top mounting receptacle basket) to provide for various different combinations of individual storage compartments. This is convenient, for example, for moving cosmetics from an everyday purse to a dinner affair purse, while leaving items non-essential to the dinner affair, such as sunglasses, in the everyday purse.
In another embodiment, the overall components of the bag body 10 and storage basket 50 are similar to those described above, e.g., as shown in FIGS. 1-3, but the storage basket 50 is fixedly attached to the bag body 10 so as not to be readily removable therefrom. See FIG. 15. For example, the storage basket 50 may be attached to the bag body 10 by stitches, adhesive, ultrasonic welding, melting/fusing, etc. In such an embodiment, the storage basket is intended to be used with only a single bag body 10, namely the attached bag body 10. In this manner, the storage basket acts primarily as a divider, to define compartments for use in separating, organizing and containing one's personal effects. Such a storage basket and bag body are nevertheless capable of storing and organizing personal effects in a manner similar to that described above. As a complement to such a combination bag body 10 and storage basket 50, an organizer may be provided that is essentially a storage basket, which may have a size and configuration different from the storage basket attached to the bag body, that is attached and/or integral with a mounting receptacle (see FIG. 9), such that the organizer is essentially a multi-compartment storage basket similar to that of the combination, but also includes a base receptacle that is sufficiently large and/or heavy so as to be impractical for placement within the bag body, and/or within a similarly sized bag, and or within a comparable type of bag. For example, a base that is approximately 8-10 inches wide and approximately 12-16 inches long has been found suitable for this purpose in that is appropriately sized for countertop/tabletop use, yet would unlikely fit within a commonly sized purse. In this manner, it is unlikely that a person could use the organizer described above in conjunction with any conventional bag that is not part of the organizational system described herein. Thus, it is unlikely that a single organizer could be used as a substitute for a storage basket to achieve a result similar to that provided by the present invention.
In an alternative embodiment, the storage basket 50 is configured without a bottom wall and includes only rigid side walls 56, 57 defining individual compartments. See FIG. 2A. In such an embodiment, the bag body cooperates with the storage basket to retain personal effects. Optionally, the rigid side walls of each compartment is discontinuous, as shown in the alternative embodiment of FIG. 2A, and the bag body cooperates with the storage basket to retain personal effects. These embodiments of the storage basket are preferred in embodiments of the organizational system in which the storage basket is fixed to the bag body, although they are also suitable for embodiments in which the storage basket is removable from the bag body.
In one embodiment similar to that described in the preceding paragraph, the organizational system includes liners similar to those discussed above with reference to FIGS. 10-11. Accordingly, the individual liners 70 a, etc. may be used to transfer personal effects stored in individual compartments of a storage basket, even when the storage basket is fixed within a bag body, and yet the individual liners will be unsatisfactory for organizational purposes if an attempt is made to use them other than in conjunction with a storage basket of the present invention, whether the storage basket is integral with a bag body 10 or an organizer, etc. This promotes use of the organizational system as a whole.
An organizational system in accordance with the present invention may be sold in kit form, e.g. in a bundle or common package, and may include any combination of one or more of each of the following items: bag body, storage basket, compartment liner, mounting receptacle.
It is noted that the embodiment(s) described herein in detail for exemplary purposes is of course subject to many different variations in structure, design, application and methodology. Because many varying and different embodiments may be made within the scope of the inventive concept(s) herein taught, and because many modifications may be made in the embodiment herein detailed in accordance with the descriptive requirements of the law, it is to be understood that the details herein are to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.