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Publication numberUS20060037874 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/919,937
Publication dateFeb 23, 2006
Filing dateAug 17, 2004
Priority dateAug 17, 2004
Publication number10919937, 919937, US 2006/0037874 A1, US 2006/037874 A1, US 20060037874 A1, US 20060037874A1, US 2006037874 A1, US 2006037874A1, US-A1-20060037874, US-A1-2006037874, US2006/0037874A1, US2006/037874A1, US20060037874 A1, US20060037874A1, US2006037874 A1, US2006037874A1
InventorsMarci Mitchell
Original AssigneeMitchell Marci E
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Storage device and method for storing linens and other household goods
US 20060037874 A1
Abstract
A storage device for storing table linens and other foldable household goods virtually dust and wrinkle-free includes: (a) a generally cylindrical core tube; and (b) a flexible wrap guide extending from the core tube along a longitudinal axis of the core tube; wherein the storage device is interchangeable between an unrolled position in which the wrap guide is not wrapped around the core tube, and a rolled-up position in which the wrap guide and at least one of the table linens or other household goods are wrapped around the core tube. Also included herein is a method of storing at least one linen or other household good.
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Claims(24)
1. A storage device for storing table linens and other foldable household goods, the storage device comprising:
(a) a generally cylindrical core tube; and
(b) a flexible wrap guide extending from the core tube along a longitudinal axis of the core tube;
wherein the storage device is interchangeable between an unrolled position in which the wrap guide is not wrapped around the core tube, and a rolled-up position in which the wrap guide and at least one of the table linens or other household goods are wrapped around the core tube.
2. The storage device according to claim 1, wherein the wrap guide is generally rectangular-shaped and comprises an inner edge, an opposite, substantially parallel outer edge, and a pair of side edges, the inner edge being adjacent to and extending longitudinally along the core tube, the side edges being generally perpendicular to the inner and outer edges, and substantially aligned with the ends of the core tube.
3. The storage device according to claim 2, wherein a wrap guide seam between the inner edge and the wrap guide maintains the core tube within the first end of the wrap guide.
4. The storage device according to claim 3, wherein the wrap guide comprises end seams adjacent to ends of the core tube and generally perpendicular to the wrap guide seam, the end seams and wrap guide seams forming a closed pocket into which the core tube is insertable.
5. The storage device according to claim 1, wherein an end portion of the wrap guide is glued to the core tube, the remainder of the wrap guide extending freely from the core tube.
6. The storage device according to claim 1, wherein the core tube is hollow and comprises open ends, and the storage device further comprises end caps, each of which is removably insertable in the open core tube end.
7. The storage device according to claim 1, wherein the storage device is not a piece of luggage, and does not comprise a garment retaining member.
8. The storage device according to claim 6, wherein the core tube is made of cardboard.
9. The storage device according to claim 8, wherein the wrap guide is made of felt.
10. The storage device according to claim 1, wherein the core tube is made of polyvinylchloride material.
11. The storage device according to claim 10, wherein the wrap guide is made of muslin.
12. The storage device according to claim 1, wherein the wrap guide does not entirely cover the at least one linen or other household good.
13. The storage device according to claim 1, wherein the wrap guide surrounds the at least one linen or other household good when the storage device is in the rolled-up position.
14. The storage device according to claim 13, wherein the wrap guide comprises a plurality of wrap guide fasteners affixed to the outer edge for maintaining the storage device in the rolled-up position.
15. The storage device according to claim 13, further comprising a roll cover, the roll cover comprising an elongate piece of material that is generally rectangular in shape, the elongate piece comprising a first longer roll cover edge, a second longer roll cover edge spaced apart and generally parallel to the first longer roll cover edge.
16. The storage device according to claim 15, wherein the roll cover further comprises a plurality of roll cover fasteners affixed to one of the longer roll cover edges, and a card pocket.
17. The storage device according to claim 1, further comprising a generally flexible yet rigid, generally cylindrical, open-ended roll cover comprising a longitudinal slot.
18. The storage device according to claim 6, wherein a second storage device is removably insertable in the hollow core tube, the second storage device having a smaller diameter than the core tube of the first storage device.
19. A method of storing at least one linen or other foldable household good, the method comprising the steps of:
(a) positioning a storage device in an unrolled position on a generally planar support surface, with a wrap guide of the storage device extending out from a core tube of the storage device on the support surface, an inner edge of the wrap guide extending longitudinally along the core tube, an outer edge of the wrap guide spaced apart and generally parallel to the inner edge;
(b) placing at least a portion of the at least one linen or other household good substantially flat on the wrap guide, wherein the at least one linen or other household good does not extend past side edges of the wrap guide; and
(c) rolling the core tube onto the at least one linen or other household good and the wrap guide until the storage device is in a rolled-up position, wherein the at least one linen or other household good and the wrap guide are wound around the core tube and the side edges of the wrap guide are aligned with ends of the core tube.
20. The method according to claim 19, further comprising the step of: placing the at least one linen or other household good flat on the wrap guide, wherein the at least one linen or other household good does not extend past the outer edge of the wrap guide.
21. The method according to claim 19, further comprising the step of: securing the storage device in the rolled-up position with a plurality of wrap guide fasteners affixed to the outer edge of the wrap guide.
22. The method according to claim 19, wherein the at least one linen or other household good is a plurality of cloth napkins, and further comprising the step of: overlapping the plurality of cloth napkins.
23. The method according to claim 19, further comprising the step of: placing the at least one linen or other household good flat on the wrap guide, with a portion of the at least one linen extending past the outer edge of the wrap guide.
24. The method according to claim 23, further comprising the steps of:
(a) laying the rolled-up storage device on a roll cover adjacent to a second longer roll cover edge, wherein the second longer roll cover edge is oriented substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the rolled-up storage device;
(b) rolling the roll cover around the rolled-up storage device from the second longer roll cover edge to a first longer roll cover edge, the first longer roll cover edge being space apart and generally parallel to the second longer roll cover edge; and
c) securing the roll cover on the rolled-up storage device with a plurality of roll cover fasteners affixed to a first longer roll cover edge.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED DOCUMENT

This invention was described in Disclosure Document Number 549704, which was received by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office on Mar. 25, 2004.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The present invention relates to a storage device and method for storing linens and other foldable household goods, and, more particularly to an easily stored device for storing cloth tablecloths, table runners, placemats, doilies, dinner napkins, woven rugs, quilts, wall hangings, blankets, tapestries, heirloom clothing, etc., so that they are unlikely to wrinkle or be damaged over time.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Two primary means of storage for table linens, such as tablecloths, table runners, placemats, doilies, and dinner napkins, currently exist: storage in a drawer, chest, or box, or storage on hangers. Many housewives or househusbands fold table linens and store them in stacks in a chest, such as a cedar chest, or a drawer of a buffet or dining room cabinet. However, this means of storage has several downfalls. The linens tend to wrinkle, particularly along the fold lines. The linen owner often has difficulty finding specific linens; in the search for a favorite tablecloth, for example, he or she must successively remove linens from the drawer or chest, or alternatively, browse the folded linens and then exact the desired one from the drawer or chest. During the hunt, the other linens are easily unfolded and incur additional wrinkles, especially at their corners and edges. It is difficult to ascertain the dimensions of a table linen without removing it from the drawer or chest, which means more work folding and unfolding linens. Furthermore, matching linens are easily separated; for example, napkins may stray from their complementary tablecloth. Another problem with storage in a drawer is soiling or other damage from other items placed in the drawer, such as candle wicks, candlestick holders, utensils, etc.

Some table linens are used infrequently, such as Christmas and other seasonal table linens, and they take up room in a drawer that could be better utilized for other purposes. Some people store linens in a box, where they may wrinkle and/or be damaged by seasonal items stored with them. Also, such boxes take up shelf space, are often difficult to locate, and may themselves be damaged by dampness, mildew, moths, other insects, etc.

Some owners store table linens on hangers in a closet. This means of storage also has several disadvantages. The table linens yellow and crease where they hang over the hanger. They accumulate dust and may be damaged by moths and other insects. They occupy valuable closet space. Again, keeping sets of linens together is problematical. Some linens are quite delicate and expensive, and they may be family heirlooms. Storing them properly is vital to having them last a long time so they can be handed down to the next generation.

Thus, there is a need for an easily stored storage device for storing all types of linens and other foldable household items virtually wrinkle-free and dust-free in an organized manner, such that a specific linen or other item is readily identifiable and available for use.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a storage device for storing table linens and other foldable household goods virtually dust and wrinkle-free. The storage device comprises:

(a) a generally cylindrical core tube; and

(b) a flexible wrap guide extending from the core tube along a longitudinal axis of the core tube;

wherein the storage device is interchangeable between an unrolled position in which the wrap guide is not wrapped around the core tube, and a rolled-up position in which the wrap guide and at least one of the table linens or other household goods are wrapped around the core tube. The storage device of the present invention preferably includes a flexible roll cover with a fastening mechanism, or a rigid, generally cylindrical, open-ended, slotted roll cover.

Also included herein is a method for storing at least one linen or other household good, which includes the steps of:

(a) positioning a storage device in an unrolled position on a generally planar support surface, with a wrap guide of the storage device extending out from a core tube of the storage device on the support surface, an inner edge of the wrap guide extending longitudinally along the core tube, an outer edge of the wrap guide spaced apart and generally parallel to the inner edge;

(b) placing at least a portion of the at least one linen or other household good substantially flat on the wrap guide, wherein the at least one linen or other household good does not extend past side edges of the wrap guide; and

(c) rolling the core tube onto the at least one linen or other household good and the wrap guide until the storage device is in a rolled-up position, wherein the at least one linen or other household good and the wrap guide are wound around the core tube and the side edges of the wrap guide are aligned with ends of the core tube.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the invention and its advantages will be apparent from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein examples of the invention are shown, and wherein:

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a storage device according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a portion of a storage device according to the present invention, shown with an end cap;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a portion of a storage device according to the present invention, showing a closed pocket for holding a core tube;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a storage device according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a small item storage device according to the present invention, shown ready for rolling;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a storage device according to the present invention, shown in a rolled-up position for storage;

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a large item storage device according to the present invention, shown with a large table linen;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of a small item storage device according to the present invention, shown in a rolled-up position;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a small item storage device according to the present invention, having hook and loop material fasteners;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a small item storage device according to the present invention, shown with small table linens overlapped on a wrap guide;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of a large item storage device according to the present invention, shown with small table linens on a large table linen;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a storage device according to the present invention, shown in a drawer;

FIG. 13 is an elevational view of a roll cover of a storage device according to the present invention;

FIG. 14A is a perspective view of a large item storage device according to the present invention, shown with an open roll cover;

FIG. 14B is a perspective view of a large item storage device according to FIG. 14A, shown in a rolled-up position;

FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a roll cover of a storage device according to the present invention; and

FIG. 16 is a perspective view of two storage devices according to the present invention, shown with an end cap removed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views. Also, in the following description, it is to be understood that such terms as “back,” “within,” and the like are words of convenience and are not to be construed as limiting terms. Referring in more detail to the drawings, the invention will now be described.

Turning first to FIG. 1, a storage device 10 according to the present invention for storing table linens or the like comprises a core tube 11 and a wrap guide 12 secured to the core tube 11 at one end of the wrap guide. The wrap guide 12 is an elongate piece of material that is preferably generally rectangular in shape. An end portion 19 of the wrap guide 12 is affixed to the core tube 11, with a straight inner edge 13 of the wrap guide 12 longitudinally oriented to the core tube 11. The attached end portion 19 of the wrap guide 12 is secured to the core tube 11 by means of glue, adhesive, tacks, staples, or another similar attachment means. The opposite, outer edge 18 of the wrap guide is free.

Referring to FIG. 2, the end portion 19 of the wrap guide 12 is alternatively wrapped closely around the core tube 11, and the inner edge 13 is attached to the wrap guide 12 along a wrap guide seam 17, so that the wrap guide 12 snugly encircles the core tube 11. The wrap guide 12 may be sewn along wrap guide seam 17. This preferred end cap 15 includes two matching, raised, curved portions 22 on opposite sides of the top of the end cap 15. The user can insert one or two fingers under one of the raised, curved portions 22 to facilitate removal of the end cap from the end of the core tube 11.

Referring to FIG. 3, another embodiment of the storage device 20 comprises an enclosed tube pocket 14 in the wrap guide 12, which accommodates the core tube 11. The wrap guide seam 17 and additional end seams 16 hold the wrap guide 12 closely to the core tube 11 so the core tube does not fall out. The end seams 16 may also be sewn.

The generally rectangular-shaped wrap guide 12 comprises two pairs of spaced apart, substantially parallel edges. The first pair of spaced apart, substantially parallel edges is the inner edge 13 and the outer edge 18. The second pair of spaced apart, substantially parallel edges is the two side edges 23. Due to the generally rectangular shape of the wrap guide 12, the inner and outer edges 13, 18 are oriented substantially perpendicularly to the two side edges 23. The length of the core tube 11 and the length of the inner and outer edges 13, 18 are approximately equal.

Continuing with FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, the core tube 11, which is substantially rigid, may be hollow or solid. If the core tube 11 is hollow, the storage device 10 may further comprise two same sized end caps 15. The end caps 15 are removably insertable in open ends of the core tube 11, as seen in FIG. 2. The end caps 15 are beneficial in that they prevent dust and dirt from collecting within the core tube 11 and help to maintain the integrity of a cardboard core tube. End caps 15 also facilitate storage of a smaller storage device 10, 20 within a complementary larger storage device 10 by preventing the smaller storage device 10, 20 inside the core tube 11 of the larger storage device 10 from sliding out

The end caps 15 are preferably made of a plastic, metal, or rubber material. The core tube 11 may be made of cardboard, plastic, wood, or metal, and the wrap guide 12 is preferably made of any type of fabric, pliable plastic material, or pliable vinyl material. However, in a preferred embodiment of the storage device 10, 20 of the present invention, the core tube 11 is made of a durable cardboard or a polyvinylchloride material, which are lightweight and durable, yet relatively inexpensive. The wrap guide 12 is preferably made of a fabric, most preferably felt, flannel, or muslin, which are less likely than other materials to shift or slide around while the wrap guide 12 and the table linen or other item being wound around the core tube 11.

In use, at least one table linen or other foldable household item is laid on the wrap guide and rolled within the wrap guide 12 over the core tube 11. The wrap guide 12 directs the table linen or other item around the core tube “I “I so that the stored table linen or other item is virtually dust and wrinkle-free, and secure. It also protects the table linen or other item from dust and dirt when it is in the storage device 10, 20 in a rolled-up position.

In addition to table linens, the storage device 10 is useful for storing any foldable household goods, such as cloth quilts, blankets, coverlets, woven rugs (e.g., Navajo rugs, throw rugs), wall hangings (e.g., tapestries), clothing (e.g., vintage or keepsake clothing), scarves, veils, ponchos, and shawls. The word “linen” herein is not meant to be restricted to goods made only of linen material. The “household goods” herein include foldable items made of any type of cloth, including cotton, linen, silk, polyester, wool, mohair, cashmere, flannel, taffeta, chiffon, muslin, etc., and any other foldable items found around the house.

Turning to FIG. 4, in order to utilize the storage device 10, 20, the wrap guide 12 is pulled straight out from the core tube 11 and laid flat on a flat, clean horizontal surface, such as a table top or floor. The table linen or other household item is laid flat on the table, with an end portion over the extended wrap guide 12. To minimize wrinkles and maximize protection, the side edges 23 of the wrap guide should each extend at least approximately two (2) inches past the opposite ends of the table linen or other item. Since the wrap guide is short, most table linens will overlap it. The wrap guide 12 serves as a guide to facilitate rolling, preventing the household item from slipping, and also helps to maintain integrity of the storage device once it is in the rolled-up position.

Next, the core tube 11 is rolled onto the wrap guide 12 and the table linen or other item in the direction indicated by arrows A (clockwise) until the core tube 11 is adjacent to the outer edge 18 of the wrap guide. As the core tube 11 is rolled, any wrinkles that have accumulated in the table linen or other item are smoothed away. Also, as the core tube 11 is rolled, the side edges 23 of the wrap guide are aligned with the ends of the core tube 11, so that the outer edge 18 remains substantially parallel to the inner edge 13. This also keeps the table linen or other item straight as it is rolled.

Once the storage device 10, 20 is in the rolled-up position, the storage device 10, 20 may be stored in any convenient place, for example, under a bed, on a shelf, in a cedar chest, in a drawer, in a trunk, or in a plastic container. In the rolled-up position, the storage device is compact and has its own protective wrapper. It can even be stored substantially vertically in a closet, for example. The present storage device is not intended to be a piece of luggage, and the linen or other household item being wrapped should not be on a clothes hanger. With the present storage device, there is no need for any garment retaining member.

If the table linen or other item is too wide for the storage device 10, 20 (i.e., the unfolded linen extends past the side edges 23 of the wrap guide 12), it may be folded in half, or in thirds, etc. prior to placement on the storage device. However, creases in the linen or other item may result along the fold line.

In FIG. 5, a preferred embodiment of a storage device 30 can be used for storing smaller sized table linens 35, items of clothing, etc. By “smaller sized table linens” is meant table linens or the like having a dimension (i.e. length, width) that does not exceed the dimensions (i.e., length, width) of the extended wrap guide 12. In other words, when it is laid open and flat on the wrap guide 12, the small table linen does not extend past the outer edge 18 or the side edges 23. Examples of small table linens include doilies, relatively short table runners, and cloth napkins. This small item storage device is also useful for storing small clothing items, such as keepsake baby clothing, including christening gowns.

The embodiment of FIG. 5 further comprises a series of wrap guide fasteners 24, which maintain the storage device 10, 20 in the rolled-up position. Preferably, the wrap guide fasteners 24 are lengths of string, ribbon, rope, or any other suitable flexible material, which are attached to the outer edge 18 of the wrap guide 12 and may be tied around the rolled-up storage device 30, as shown in FIG. 6. Other exemplary wrap guide fasteners 24 are hooks and complementary loops, strips of hook and loop material, straps, snaps, buttons, and zippers. The wrap guide fasteners are preferably permanently affixed to the wrap guide 12. However, it is appreciated that not all types of fasteners must be attached to the wrap guide 12. For example, elastic bands may be pulled over the rolled storage device 30 to maintain the storage device in the rolled-up position.

FIG. 8 illustrates a storage device 30 having hooks 44 and complementary loops 45 as wrap guide fasteners. The hooks 44 are affixed to an outside face of the wrap guide 12. The complementary loops 45 are made of a flexible material such as elastic affixed to the outer edge 18 of the wrap guide and aligned with the hooks 44. In use, the loops 45 reversibly engage the hooks 44. Other means of detachable attachment may be employed in place of hooks 44 and loops 45.

Referring to FIG. 9, a storage device 30 has fasteners made of strips of a hook and loop material 39, 41. A first component 41 of the hook and loop material is attached to an inside face of the wrap guide 12 adjacent to the outer edge 18. A second, complementary component 39 of the hook and loop material is attached to a face of the wrap guide 12 aligned with the first hook/loop component 39. In use, the first hook/loop component 41 reversibly engages the second hook/loop component 39.

With continued attention to FIGS. 5 and 6, in order to utilize the storage device 30 as a means for storing small table linens, such as dinner napkins 35 a, doilies 35 b, or placemats 35 c, or the like, the wrap guide 12 is first fully extended on a relatively flat and clean surface, for example, a table top or bed. Then the small table linens 35 are laid open and flat on the wrap guide 12, preferably side by side. The core tube 11 is next rotated in the direction of arrows A (clockwise) until the outer edge 18 of the guide wrap is adjacent to the outer edge 18. Again, as the core tube 11 is rolled, any wrinkles appearing in the small table linens 35 are smoothed away and the side edges 23 of the wrap guide are aligned with the ends of the core tube 11.

Once the storage device 30 is in the rolled-up position, the wrap guide fasteners 24 are deployed (e.g., tied around, snapped, buttoned, zipped, etc.) in order to maintain the storage device 30 in the rolled-up position (see FIG. 6). The fastened, rolled-up storage device 30 may be set upright, as shown in FIG. 6, or laid down in any desired location. The small item storage device 30 is advantageous because the length of the core tube 11 is relatively short, so the compact storage device 30 may be stored in a corner of a bureau, cabinet, or table drawer 42, as shown in FIG. 12.

Referring to FIG. 10, a series of same-sized, small table linens 35 (e.g., dinner napkins, doilies, placemats) may be overlapped instead of being laid independently on the wrap guide 12. After the wrap guide 12 is extended and laid flat, a first small table linen 36 is laid open and flat adjacent to an edge 13, 18 of the wrap guide. More small table linens 35 are successively laid partially over the small table linen last laid. The small table linens may be placed close to, but not over, the opposite edges 13, 18 of the wrap guide. The bottommost (first) small table linen 36 may be the small table linen closest to the outer edge 18, as shown in FIG. 10, or alternatively the small table linen farthest from the outer edge 18 (not shown). Likewise, the topmost (last laid) small table linen 37 (e.g., cloth napkins, placemats) here is farthest from the outer edge 18 and closest to the core tube 11. This layered formation of the small table linens facilitates rolling and unrolling.

Once it is rolled up, fasteners made of strips of a hook and loop material 39, 41 retain the storage device in a rolled-up position, with the first hook/loop component 41 reversibly engaging a second hook/loop component (not shown) on the other side of the rolled-up storage device. Other means of fastening the storage device in the rolled-up position, such as hooks and loops, may be utilized.

Turning to FIG. 11, small table linens 35 (e.g., cloth dinner napkins) may be stored in the large item storage device 40 along with a large table linen 25 (e.g., matching tablecloth). This is advantageous in that it keeps a whole table linen set together. Prior to rolling the large table linen 25 in the wrap guide 12, the small table linens 25 are simply placed open and flat side by side on top of the large table linen 35. The storage device 40 is then rolled-up, secured, and set aside in a desired storage area, as previously described.

FIG. 7 shows another preferred embodiment of the large item storage device 40 for storing larger sized table linens 25 on a table 21 in an unrolled position. By “larger sized table linens” is meant table linens having a dimension (i.e., length, width) that exceeds the distance between the inner edge 13 and the outer edge 18 of the wrap guide. A larger sized table linen extends past the outer edge 18 when it is laid on the wrap guide 12. Tablecloths and table runners that fit dinner tables that seat six, eight, or twelve people are examples of larger sized table linens. Other large items, such as a quilt or other bed coverlet, a Navajo rug or other woven rug, a tapestry or other wall hanging, an evening gown, etc. can be stored in this larger storage device.

The large item storage device 40 preferably does not comprise wrap guide fasteners 24. Instead, the storage device preferably includes a roll cover 26, which is illustrated in FIG. 13. The roll cover 26 maintains the storage device 40 in a rolled-up position.

In order to use a storage device 40, the wrap guide 12 is first fully extended and laid flat on a relatively flat surface. One end of the large table linen 25 is laid flat on the wrap guide 12. The rest of the large table linen 25 continues past the outer edge 18 of the wrap guide. Thus, if the large table linen is generally rectangular in shape, a first linen edge 27 of the large table linen 25 lies on the wrap guide 12 and a second, opposite, substantially parallel edge 28 does not. Of course, the large table linen 25 could be generally circular or ovular in shape, but its radius or one of its radii would be longer than the distance between the inner edge 13 and the outer edge 18 of the wrap guide 12.

Next, the core tube 11 is rolled clockwise until it is adjacent to the second linen edge 28 of the table linen 25 and is in the rolled-up position shown in FIG. 14A. Again, during rolling, any wrinkles are smoothed away and the side edges 23 of the wrap guide remain aligned with the ends of the core tube 11. Unlike the small item storage device 30 for use with smaller sized household items, the wrap guide 12 of the large item storage device 40 does not entirely cover and protect the table linen. Rather, the wrap guide 12 only assists in rolling the table linen.

The roll cover 26 wraps around the rolled-up storage device 40 to protect the bare larger sized table linen 25 from dust, dirt, and stains, as shown in FIG. 14B. The roll cover 26 comprises an elongate piece of material 29, which is generally rectangular in shape, and a plurality of roll cover fasteners 31. The roll cover fasteners 31 are attached to a first longer roll cover edge 32 of the elongate piece 29. The width of the elongate piece 29 is approximately equal to the length of the core tube 11, while the length of the elongate piece 29 is larger than the circumference of the rolled-up storage device 40. Like the wrap guide 12, the elongate piece 29 may be any type of fabric, pliable plastic material, or pliable vinyl material.

The roll cover fasteners 31 are preferably lengths of string, ribbon, rope, or any other flexible material. The roll cover fasteners 31 may be hooks and complementary loops, similar to the hooks and loops shown in FIG. 8, strips of hook and loop material, similar to the hook and loop strips shown in FIG. 9, straps, snaps, buttons, and zippers. They are preferably permanently affixed to the roll cover 26. However, it is appreciated that not all types of roll cover fasteners 31 must be attached to the roll cover 26, for example, expandable elastic bands.

Continuing with FIGS. 14A and 14B, the roll cover 26 is first laid open and flat in order for it to cover the rolled-up storage device 40. Next, the rolled-up storage device 40 is set on the roll cover 26 adjacent to a second longer roll cover edge 33, so that the second longer roll cover edge 33 is substantially parallel to the roll cover's longitudinal axis. The second longer roll cover edge 33 is opposite and substantially parallel to the first longer roll cover edge 32 with the roll cover fasteners 31. Then the second longer roll cover edge 33 of the roll cover 26 is pulled over the rolled-up storage device 40. Next, the rolled-up storage device 40 is rotated in the direction of arrow B until it is adjacent the first longer roll cover edge 32. The roll cover 26 is wrapped around the rolled-up storage device 40. Lastly, the fasteners 31 are tied around or otherwise closed to secure the roll cover 26 around the rolled-up storage device 40.

Referring to FIG. 15, an alternate, slotted roll cover 34 is a hard, but flexible, hollow cylinder having a slot 46 along its length. In use, a rolled-up storage device 40, 10 with or without end caps 15 is inserted through an open end 47 of the slotted roll cover 34 into the roll cover. The storage device 40, 10 in its rolled-up position is shown partially enclosed by the roll cover 34 in FIG. 15. The slot 46 allows the roll cover 34 to expand somewhat in the event that the circumference of the rolled-up storage device 40, 10 containing the household item is larger than the circumference of the roll cover 34. This is a useful feature, since household items, and therefore the diameter of the rolled-up storage device, vary in size. Alternatively, where the roll cover 34 is made of a flexible plastic material, the rolled up storage device 40, 10 containing the household item can be pushed in through the roll cover slot 46, which opens to accommodate it and then tightens over the rolled up storage device 40, 10.

Referring to FIG. 16, at least one large table linen (e.g. a tablecloth) or the other foldable item is rolled in the large item storage device 40 and secured with the roll cover 26, and at least one small linen (e.g., matching dinner napkins) or the like is rolled in the small item storage device 30. The small item storage device 30 is secured with wrap guide fasteners 24. The rolled-up small item storage device 30 is then removably inserted in the hollow core tube 11 of the rolled-up large item storage device 40.

End caps 15 inserted in or over the ends of the hollow core tube 11 hold the rolled-up small item storage device 30 within the rolled-up large item storage device 40 during storage. For purposes of illustration, an end cap 15 is shown separately in FIG. 16. This preferred end cap 15 includes two matching, raised curved portions 22 on opposite sides of the top of the end cap 15. The user can insert one or two fingers under one of the raised, curved portions 22 to facilitate removal of the end cap from the end of the core tube 11.

Storing small table linens and large table linens together, yet rolled separately, is advantageous, because the small table linens may be accessed without unrolling and disturbing the large table linens and vice versa. Also, the napkins are less likely to be separated from the matching tablecloth, and a napkin is less likely to be lost. The same is true of other sets of household items, such as large and small crocheted doilies for placement on the back and arms of a set of armchairs.

In order to remove a table linen from the storage device 10, 20, 30, 40, the wrap guide fasteners 24, 31 are simply untied or otherwise disengaged. The storage device 10, 20, 30, 40 is then unwound on a relatively flat, clean surface, and the desired table linen 25, 35 is lifted off the wrap guide 12 or another table linen 25, 35. The storage device 10, 20, 30, 40 may then be rewound to a rolled-up position.

A large sized table linen 25, 35 or the like may be folded so that it fits on the wrap guide 12 of any storage device 10, 20, 30, 40 herein. For example, a large tablecloth which continues past the edges 18, 23 of the small item storage device 30 when it is laid open on the wrap guide 12, may be folded in half, in thirds, etc., so that it may be properly positioned on the wrap guide 12 (i.e., not exceeding edges 18 or 23) of the small item storage device 30. More than one table linen 25, 35 or the like may be rolled in one storage device 10, 20, 30, 40.

Labels are preferably affixed to the outside of the storage devices 10, 20, 30, 40 to facilitate identification of their contents without unrolling them. For example, contents of the storage device 10, 20, 30, 40 may be itemized (i.e., typed, printed, or handwritten) on a tag 48, and the tag may be removably affixed to the storage device 10, 20, 30, 40, as shown in FIG. 14B, or the roll cover 26.

Referring to FIG. 16, the wrap guide 12 or roll cover 26, 34 may comprise a card pocket 49, which holds a removable label card on which the contents of the storage device 10, 20, 30, 40 have been itemized (i.e. typed, printed, or written). The card pocket 49 may be made from any type of fabric, or pliable plastic or vinyl. Preferably, the card pocket 49 is transparent, so that the card may be viewed without removing it from the pocket.

In addition to table linens, any suitable, foldable household item may also be stored in the storage devices 10, 20, 30, 40. Exemplary household goods include quilts and blankets; woven rugs (e.g., Navajo rugs); tapestries and other wall hangings; and clothing items (e.g., baby clothing, christening dresses, evening gowns). These household goods are either laid open and flat or neatly folded and flat on the wrap guide 12, and then rolled and secured in the storage device 10, 20, 30, 40. If desired, a liner, such as a cedar drawer liner, antistatic/perfumed dryer sheets, or cedar shavings, can be placed over the household item prior to rolling up the storage device. A cedar liner or cedar shavings helps to inhibit insect damage over time.

If desired, one or more storage devices 10, 20, 30, 40, each containing a household item, can be stored in a vacuum bag. Once air is evacuated from the vacuum bag using a vacuum cleaner hose placed over a one way valve of the vacuum bag, the household items can safely be stored for years.

Also included herein is a method of storing at least one linen or other foldable household good. The method includes the following steps:

(a) positioning a storage device 10 in an unrolled position on a clean, flat support surface, such as a table 21, with a wrap guide 12 of the storage device extending out from a core tube 11 of the storage device on the support surface 21, an inner edge 13 of the wrap guide extending longitudinally along the core tube 11, an outer edge 18 of the wrap guide spaced apart and generally parallel to the inner edge 13, and side edges 23 of the wrap guide generally perpendicular to the inner and outer edges 13, 18 of the wrap guide 12 (see FIGS. 1-3);

(b) placing at least a portion of the linen 25 or other household good substantially flat on the wrap guide 12, wherein the linen 25 or other household good does not extend past the side edges 23, as shown in FIG. 7; and

(c) rolling the core tube 11 onto the linen 25 or other household good and the wrap guide 12 until the storage device 10 is in a rolled-up position, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 14, wherein the linen 25 or other household good and the wrap guide 12 are wound around the core tube 11 and the side edges 23 of the wrap guide are aligned with the two ends of the core tube 11.

From the foregoing it can be realized that the described device of the present invention may be easily and conveniently utilized as a device for storing table linens or other foldable household items. It is to be understood that any dimensions given herein are illustrative, and are not meant to be limiting.

While preferred embodiments of the invention have been described using specific terms, this description is for illustrative purposes only. It will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that various modifications, substitutions, omissions, and changes may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention, and that such are intended to be within the scope of the present invention as defined by the following claims. It is intended that the doctrine of equivalents be relied upon to determine the fair scope of these claims in connection with any other person's product which fall outside the literal wording of these claims, but which in reality do not materially depart from this invention. Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features that, from the standpoint of prior art, fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention.

Brief List of Reference Numbers Used in the Drawings

  • 10 storage device
  • 11 core tube
  • 12 wrap guide
  • 13 inner edge
  • 14 tube pocket
  • 15 end caps
  • 16 end seam
  • 17 wrap guide seam
  • 18 outer edge
  • 29 first end portion
  • 20 alternate storage device
  • 21 table
  • 22 end cap curved portion
  • 23 side edges
  • 24 wrap guide fasteners
  • 25 larger table linen
  • 26 roll cover
  • 27 first linen edge
  • 28 second linen edge
  • 29 elongate piece
  • 30 small item storage device
  • 31 roll cover fasteners
  • 32 first longer roll cover edge
  • 33 second longer cover edge
  • 34 alternate, slotted roll cover
  • 35 smaller table linen
  • 36 bottommost small table linen
  • 37 topmost small table linen
  • 38 aperture
  • 39 hook material
  • 40 large item storage device
  • 42 loop material
  • 43 drawer
  • 44 hook
  • 45 loop
  • 46 roll cover slot
  • 47 open end of roll cover
  • 48 tag
  • 49 card pocket
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7757416 *Apr 12, 2007Jul 20, 2010Kim ShearrowPortable and stowable quilting design wall
Classifications
U.S. Classification206/225, 206/389, 206/494
International ClassificationB65D69/00
Cooperative ClassificationB65D65/08, A47G11/00
European ClassificationA47G11/00, B65D65/08