US 20030006156 A1
An organizer preferably for painters or wall paper hangers to hold materials and tools has a work area, paint, can, bucket and lid receptacles. The work area and receptacles provide reservoirs for collecting spills and drips.
1. An organizer, comprising:
a work surface;
a receptacle proximate the work surface; and
a barrier about at least a portion of the work surface and the receptacle for obstructing the movement of a fluid from inside the barrier.
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 This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Patent Application, Serial No. (not yet assigned), filed Feb. 17, 1999.
 The present invention relates in general to an organizer for use by amateurs and professionals during painting and wallpapering and pertains, more particularly, to a device for organizing the many different tools and materials used during painting and wallpapering. The organizer of this invention is an improvement over the conventional organizing devices for organizing the painter's or wall paper hanger's's brushes, scrapers, sand paper, rollers, paints, wallpaper and wallpaper paste, and the like.
 With the conventional equipment, the painter's tools and materials are not readily available in spite of the fact that painter have used the same techniques for applying paint to surfaces for many years. For example, when using a paint roller a painter will set a roller pan filled with paint on a surface (e.g., the floor) and dip the roller into the pan resulting in paint spills outside of the roller pan.
 Conventional pans and similar equipment are similarly designed and resemble in large part the conventional flat roller pan. While conventional devices hold paint, they do not address the need to reduce spills while at the same time providing a device which may hold the necessary tools.
 Another drawback associated with the conventional pans is that when a painter uses all of the paint in the pan work must stop while the pan is re-filled with paint. This re-filling is time consuming since the painter must retrieve a paint can, refill the pan and then return the can to a safe place in order to avoid an inadvertent paint spill from the can which is typically left open for the frequent pan re-filling normally required.
 Many paint spills occur when a paint can is knocked over or paint is allowed to drip down the side of the can. The paint can also needs to be in a safe and convenient location.
 Existing equipment also has a drawback related to the inability to provide a central location to hold the painter's tools. The painter's accessories, tools, equipment (e.g., sandpaper, rags, tape, brushes, scrapers, and the like) and personal items often end up scattered throughout a work area and retrieving these items can be time consuming and inconvenient, particularly if an item is need immediately during a particular task.
 Conventional portable paint stations are cumbersome and lack the desired degree of portability. These conventional devices lack numerous aspects desired by the painter, convenient paint can storage and paint can lid storage.
 Existing devices resting on wheels or legs also have a drawback associated with rolling into holes (for example, a floor register) thereby creating a major spill. Conventional devices do not provide storage for hardware removed during painting or wallpapering (for example, switch plate covers and screws).
 Similarly, wallpaper hanging requires water or adhesive near at hand. The conventional pans or tubs for holding either of these liquids or provide for immersion of wallpaper in either of these liquids prior to applying to a surface include all of the foregoing drawbacks, that is, lack of spill prevention and convenience of ready access to the tools of the trade in order to reduce spills and cleanup while increasing a worker's efficiency.
 Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide an improved organizer that is adapted to hold the necessary paint, whether in a pan or in a can. With the organizer of this invention it is believed that there will be fewer paint spills and the organizer may rest on the floor for use with a roller and extension combination.
 Another object of this invention is to provide an improved organizer that is adapted to provide efficient tool and material storage for both the professional and amateur painter. The organizer of this invention is constructed to provide a relatively inexpensive portable work station to thus provide improved efficiency on the job and increase the overall convenience of painting or wallpapering.
 A further object of this invention is to provide a one piece organizer that is adapted for manufacture from an inexpensive, durable material. This invention is a one-piece unit thereby requiring substantially no set-up and is easily cleaned.
 Still another object of this invention is to provide an organizer having a work surface with a safety ridge. The organizer of this invention is characterized by a barrier to paint spills and in a preferred embodiment retains spills of approximately one gallon of paint or other liquid.
 Another object of this invention is to provide an organizer with an integral roller pan. The stability of the organizer provides a stable roller pan and a surface to catch drips of paint from the roller.
 A further object of this invention is to provide an organizer that is adapted to hold a paint can, can lid, tools (painting or wall paper hanging tools), hardware removed during painting or wall paper hanging, preparation of wall paper for hanging and other items in or near the work area. The organizer is easy to move whether empty or in use.
 To accomplish the foregoing and other objects of this invention there is provided a paint and wallpaper organizer for providing a work center specifically used by painters and wall paper hangers for holding liquids, containers, tools, and other items typically required at a job site by either professional or amateur workers. A preferred embodiment of the organizer of this invention comprises a work surface, skirt and one or more handholds.
 The organizer includes a roller pan, tool tray (also used as a water/paste reservoir for wall paper hanging), a paint can holder (quart can or gallon can or combination thereof), a lid holder and a lid access depression. The organizer also includes a large bucket stabilizer (for example, a five quart bucket), paint well, brush rest.
 The work surface provides a safety rim, one or more flanges, organizer sides, curved handhold flange, and a raised roller pan surface. In one preferred embodiment one or more dividers fit into one or more divider slots.
 These and other objects and features of this invention will be better understood and appreciated from the following detailed description of embodiments thereof, selected for purposes of illustration and shown in the accompanying drawings.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an organizer constructed in accordance with this invention;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a side view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is another side view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is another side view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 6 is another side view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a bottom view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 1;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 8-8 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 9-9 in FIG. 2;
FIG. 10 is a perspective view of another embodiment of an organizer constructed in accordance with this invention;
FIG. 1 is a plan view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 10;
FIG. 12 is a side view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 10;
FIG. 13 is another side view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 10;
FIG. 14 is another side view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 10;
FIG. 15 is another side view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 10;
FIG. 16 is a bottom view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 10;
FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 17-17 in FIG 11;
FIG. 18 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 18-18 in FIG. 11;
FIG. 19 is a plan view of a compact version of the organizer constructed in accordance with this invention in which the side and bottom views are similar to the respective side and bottom views illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 16;
FIG. 20 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 20-20 in FIG. 19;
FIG. 21 is a plan view of another compact version of the organizer constructed in accordance with this invention in which the bottom view is similar to the respective bottom views illustrated in FIGS. 1 through 16;
FIG. 22 is a side view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 21;
FIG. 23 is another side view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 21;
FIG. 24 is another side view of the organizer depicted in FIG. 21;
FIG. 25 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 25-25 in FIG. 21;
FIG. 26 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 26-26 in FIG. 21.
 Referring now to the drawings there is shown a preferred embodiment for the painting and wall papering organizer of this invention. The organizer is described in connection with a painting and a wall papering application by either professionals or amateurs.
 The organizer of this invention is particularly adapted for providing a work center for organizing the materials and tools used by painters and wall paper hangers. The organizer is characterized by an improved storage of liquids in the organizer or in open containers and a containment structure for reducing the likelihood that paint spills and drips or water or adhesive used for painting and wall paper hanging drip or spill over onto the area adjacent to or around the organizer.
 The drawings show the organizer 10 in conjunction with a painting or a wall paper hanging application that comprises a paint holder 12, an upper surface 14, a safety barrier 16, and one or more receptacles 18. The safety barrier in the illustrated embodiment surrounds a portion of the organizer 10 that provides a combination spill collector, well and reservoir 20 within the safety barrier 16 defined by a spill collector safety ridge or barrier 22. The paint holder 12 comprises a combined roller pan reservoir 24 and a combined roller pan drip collector reservoir 26.
 In one preferred embodiment of this invention, a tool storage receptacle 28 is intended to receive one or more of the tools used to paint or hang wall paper. The tool storage receptacle is capable of receiving the tools of the trade, whether painter, wall paper hanger, or handyman.
 In one preferred embodiment of the organizer 10 there is provided a tool storage portion or receptacle 28. If the organizer 10 is used during wall paper hanging, then water is poured into the receptacle 28 and the length of the receptacle is of sufficient length to receive a length of wall paper (not shown) having a width which allows placing all or a portion of the length of wall paper into the receptacle 28. Since paste may be used like paint, the past also could be placed in the roller pan, or used from a can or bucket located in one of the receptacles.
 The upper surface 14 provides a work surface 30 and this work surface as well as the receptacle 28 may serve as tool trays 32 in or on which tools, brushes and the like can be rested when not in use. In a preferred embodiment, the upper surface 14 also includes a brush rest 34 on which a paint brush (not shown) rests between uses.
 One or more receptacles formed in the upper surface 14 and, preferably, the work surface 30, provide support and storage for buckets, cans and lids during use of the organizer 10. It will be understood that other combinations of trays, roller pans, paint and bucket receptacles are possible and that the combinations illustrated in the drawing figures and described herein are selected as representative of this invention and not as a limit to the scope of this invention.
 In the illustrated embodiments, there is provided at least one can (e.g., paint can) receptacle 36. The receptacle has a side wall 38, a bottom surface 40 and a shoulder 42 elevated above the bottom surface 40.
 In a preferred embodiment a small paint can (not shown) (e.g., one quart) fits within the bottom surface 40. The shoulder 42 and the side wall 38 act to stabilize this can and reduce the chance of tipping the can so as to cause a spill.
 In a preferred embodiment a large paint can (not shown) (e.g., one gallon) fits within the side wall 38 and rests on the shoulder 42. The side wall and shoulder act to stabilize this can and reduce the chance of tipping the can so as to cause a spill.
 Another preferred receptacle provides support for a bucket or other container and/or the lid of a can. This receptacle has a side wall 44, a bottom surface 46 and a shoulder 48 elevated above the bottom surface 46.
 A paint bucket (not shown) or other bucket (not shown) fits within the side wall 44 and rests on either the bottom surface 46 and within the shoulder 48 or rests on the shoulder 48 depending upon the size of the bucket. The shoulder 48 and the side wall 44 act to stabilize the bucket and reduce the chance of tipping so as to cause a spill.
 In a preferred embodiment, a notch or groove 50 is formed in at least a portion of side wall 44. The notch or groove 50 is sized and positioned so as to allow access to a paint lid (not shown) placed on bottom 44 and the groove is illustrated as extending from the top of the side wall 44 to the bottom surface 46 and through the shoulder 48. It will be understood that this other receptacle may be provided either with or without the shoulder 48.
 The paint holder 12 is illustrated as resembling a roller pan and includes one or more raised portions 52 on angled bottom surface 54. The raised portion 52 acts to remove excess paint from a roller (not shown) and the excess paint flows into a paint reservoir 56.
 In another preferred embodiment the tray 32 includes one or more slots 58. Dividers 60 placed in the slots divide the tray 32 into smaller storage areas suitable for hardware and fasteners typically removed during painting or wall papering. It will be understood that the tray, either with or without the dividers provides storage for tools and other items, as needed or desired by the user of the organizer.
 This invention may include other combinations of the features even though not illustrated or specifically described herein. In order to clarify the flexibility of this invention two preferred compact versions are shown and described.
 The same reference characters used in the previously described embodiments are also used in the drawing figures illustrating the compact versions of this invention. However, the illustrations and descriptions of these compact embodiments of this invention have also been used to show additional features that are also applicable to the other embodiments described and claimed herein.
 Included in these additional features is a lid receptacle 58 and a gutter 60 that extends from the receptacle into the paint reservoir 56.
 In operation, paint is placed in reservoir 56 and buckets or cans are placed in their respective receptacles. At least a portion of any spills and drips that occur during painting remain on the upper surface 14 or the work surface 30 due to the safety barrier 16 or into the reservoir 56. Each of the can, bucket or lid receptacles provide additional reservoirs to collect paint spills and drips. The contained paint is easy to clean up and less clean up is required in the general work area since the organizer collects some or all of the spills or drips.
 The organizer may rest on the floor or a relatively flat surface in the work area. The roller pan is used in the normal manner. Tools are placed in the tool tray and returned to the tool tray when not in use.
 Open paint cans rest in the paint can receptacle and the respective lids are placed in the lid receptacle.
 The long tray is used to soak lengths of wall paper. If paste is used, then it is preferably kept in the roller pan instead of the water. Brushes and buckets used to hang wall paper may also be held in the organizer 10.
 The organizer provides a receptacle for most of the tools and materials used by a painter or wall paper hanger.
 In a preferred embodiment, the paint and wallpaper organizer 10 is a tray made from various polymers including polyethylene, ABS, HIPS and polystryene. Any material that is rigid or hard that can be formed into the proper shape may be used such as other polymers, wood, cardboard, plaster, metal, etc.
 The organizer has a top or upper surface 14, a bottom surface 70, a front end 72, a rear end 74, two sides 76 and a skirt 64 located around the periphery of the tray. The skirt is interrupted on two sides by handholds 68. Depressions on the top surface include, a roller pan 24, 26 a tool tray or water reservoir 32, a quart can holder 18, a gallon can holder 18, a lid holder 18, a lid access depression 50, and a five quart bucket stabilizer 18. The brush rest 34 is a prominence found on the work surface 30. A safety rim 16 surrounds the work surface.
 The skirt 62 extends around the entire periphery of the tray interrupted only by the handholds 68. The skirt 62 serves as the legs of the tray offering support and stability. The skirt 62 determines the height of the tray. The skirt 62 has a flange 64 where it makes contact with the floor or other surface. This flange 64 creates a smooth interface between the two surfaces to enhance mobility. The organizer will slide easily between work areas. The flange 64 surrounds some or all of the entire organizer 10.
 The handholds 68 are located on the two sides 76 of the tray. The sides 76 of the tray are located on the side of the roller pan 24, 26 and on the side of the lid holder 18. The handholds 66 are in approximately the middle of the sides 76 to maximize balance when picking up the tray. The flange is exaggerated with an upward curvature at the handholds 66 to make lifting easier on your hands.
 The roller pan 24, 26 is a rectangular depression wide enough to fit at least a 10 inch paint roller. It is almost twice as long as it is wide in a preferred embodiment. Like most roller pans it is deeper on one end creating a paint well 56. The roller pan of this invention is preferably deeper than most standard roller pans enabling it able to hold more paint. The depth of the roller pan 24, 26 is preferably equal to the height of the skirt 62 so that the organizer rests substantially completely on the same surface. About one third of the bottom of the pan may be flat and makes up the deep end or paint well 56. The remainder of the bottom of the pan angles up from the deep end to the shallow or angled end of the roller pan 54. The preferred embodiment of the angled portion of the bottom of the roller pan 24, 26 is not smooth. It has ten or so raised features 52, five or so on each side, angled toward the center and bottom of the pan that will direct paint flow toward the deep end. The roller pan 24, 26 is located in a corner of the organizer adjacent to the paint lid holder 18 and the paint can holder 18. The paint well 56 of the roller pan is preferably is closer to the inner portion of this invention, rather than the outer portion of the organizer.
 The tool tray or water reservoir 32 is positioned generally perpendicular to the roller pan 24, 26 spanning the width of the organizer. It is preferably a rectangular depression roughly twenty-two inches long and five inches wide. It is as deep as the skirt 62 is generally tall allowing the bottom to rest on the same surface as the skirt. There are four pairs of slots 58 on the long sides of the tool tray. These will hold the divider 60 which can be used to customize the size of each compartment. The tool tray 32 is water tight and can be used as a water reservoir for wallpaper.
 The gallon paint can holder 18 is located at one corner of the tray. This holder is a circular depression defined by sidewall 38 large enough to stabilize a gallon of paint.
 The quart paint can holder sits in the center of the gallon paint can holder 18. It is a circular depression approximately 4.5 inches in diameter and approximately 1.5 inch deep and will hold a standard one quart can. The bottom of the holder 18 is preferably located at the same level as the bottom of the skirt 62 and the bottom of the tool tray 32 and roller pan 24, 26.
 The paint lid holder 18 is a circular depression defined by sidewall 44 that is located in the center of the paint and wallpaper organizer adjacent to the roller pan 24, 26. Paint lids are held flat in this depression. The lid accessory depression 50 allows for easy access to the paint lid and helps reduce paint spillage.
 A 5 quart bucket holder 18 is created by a circular ledge or shoulder 48 above the lid holder 18 depression such that a 5 quart bucket or its equivalent will be held securely over the lid without contact with the lid.
 The work surface 30 is surrounded by the safety ridge 16 that prevents the paint from spreading to other surfaces while transferring paint.
 The brush rest 34 is located between the circular paint can holder 18 and lid holder 18 and more or less perpendicular to the roller pan 24, 26. Preferably this prominence is designed with a 3 inch width and ¼ the inch height to keep the bristles from distorting.
 When used during wall paper hanging, the tray retains the water. The reservoir may hold water or adhesive to apply the wall paper to a surface being papered. The particular receptacles will receive drips and spills of water or adhesive in the same fashion that they receive the drips and spills of paint.
 In a preferred embodiment the organizer 10 is supported on support skirt 62. This support skirt arrangement provides support for the organizer and is relatively easy to move about over surfaces that are not smooth. Handholds 68 may also be provided to assist the user in moving or sliding or carrying the organizer 10.
 As one of the features and characteristics of this invention is the reduction of spills, drips, the support skirt 62 may include a flange 64 and the flange may include a depression or gutter 66. Either the flange or the gutter provides an additional spill or drip collection surface.
 In addition, the safety barrier or ridge 16 can surround an upper surface 14 or a work surface 30 to catch spills having a volume as great as one gallon or greater depending upon the size of the organizer and the organizer work surface.
 While specific embodiments have been shown and described, many variations are possible. The particular shape or size or length or width or configuration of this invention may vary. Depending upon the material used to construct this invention, suitable reinforcing ribs, arches, thickened portions and the like may be added as required for providing a desired strength to weight ratio.
 A lid (not shown) may also be provided and suitable connections (not shown) which will be understood by one of ordinary skill in the art may also be provided on the lid or the organizer or on both in order to secure the lid to the organizer.
 While a skirt is preferred, legs (not shown) may also be used to support the organizer 10. A rope could be attached to the organizer to assist moving the organizer. A stand (not shown), either with or without wheels, such as is found in a laundry basket with the organizer resting upon the stand.
 The organizer materials may vary although some form or plastic, particularly when preparing vacuumed-formed prototypes.
 Another preferred embodiment is described in a co-pending provisional patent application. That disclosure is incorporated herein by reference in order to further exemplify the possible variations of this invention and, thereby, provide a further understanding of this invention.
 Also, in the embodiments described, there have been described various combinations of features. It will be understood that other combinations of these features may be made which will provide a unique and unobvious organizer of this invention, for example, the organizer could be adapted for use by other trades, such as carpenters, electricians, tile layers, for example.
 From the foregoing description those skilled in the art will appreciate that all of the objects of the present invention are realized. A built in roller pan is stabilized by the organizer 10 and provides additional collection areas for drips and spills.
 The organizer provides the user with a secure location next to the roller pan for a gallon or a quart of paint. Tools may be stored in the organizer for ease of access and convenience.
 The organizer is preferably light weight and easy to move. The organizer slides or may be carried.
 The wall paper hanger is provided with a convenient area in which to prepare paper for hanging. The wall paper hanger's tools and materials (e.g., brushes, paste) may be stored in the organizer.
 The organizer provides an improved organizer adapted to hold the necessary paint, whether in a pan or in a can. The organizer may rest on the floor for use with a roller and extension combination and is adapted to provide efficient tool and material storage for both the professional and amateur painter. The organizer of this invention provides a relatively inexpensive portable work station and improves efficiency on the job and increases the overall convenience of painting or wallpapering.
 The one piece organizer is manufactured from an inexpensive, durable material. This invention is a one-piece unit and requires substantially no set-up and is easily cleaned.
 The organizer has a work surface with a safety ridge and is preferably characterized by a barrier to paint spills and in a preferred embodiment retains spills of paint or other liquid. The integral roller pan may also be used to collect spills and drips.
 The skirt support arrangement of a preferred embodiment provides a stable roller pan and a surface to catch drips of paint from the roller. In other embodiments in which legs or other supports are used will also be provided with stable supporting members.
 This invention holds a paint can, can lid, tools (painting or wall paper hanging tools), hardware removed during painting or wall paper hanging, preparation of wall paper for hanging and other items in or near the work area. The organizer is easy to move whether empty or in use.
 Having described this invention in detail, those skilled in the art will appreciate that modifications may be made of the invention without departing from its spirit, therefore, it is not intended that the scope of this invention be limited to the specific embodiment illustrated and described. Rather, it is intended that the scope of this invention be determined by the appended claims and their equivalents.