Herbst Produkt has designed a new product called HYVE: a polypropylene container that can be clipped to other HYVEs, creating a modular storage system. It's available via Kickstarter.
I recently spent some time talking to Scot Herbst about HYVE and seeing the product first-hand. HYVE can be used to store a wide range of things: pens and pencils on the desktop, craft supplies in the classroom or playroom, flatware in the kitchen (for those without enough drawers), all sorts of things on a workbench, and much more. Because the HYVEs can be continually reconfigured, they might serve one use now, and another in later years. The HYVEs are about 3.5 inches tall, and a bit under 4 inches wide.
The concerns I had looking at the HYVEs online vanished when I saw them in person. I was afraid a HYVE might tip over easily, but it seems quite stable. The polypropylene means it's easy to clean and hard to damage—important factors in anything that young children might use. The hexagon shape helps to make it strong. For most people, it will be pretty easy to clip the units together, and easy to take them apart. The clips seem very sturdy, too; they're not something that's going to break after a few uses.
Besides making the HYVE strong, the hexagon shape makes for a more interesting appearance than something like a simple square shape. As Scot says, "Part of the function is the visual space it occupies." And there's no wasted space between the containers, as there would be with circles or ovals.
HYVEs are also available with a wall plank, each of which can hold three HYVEs. There are two keyholes on the back of the plank, which would slide over two screws in the wall.
And HYVEs are also available with HYVE magnets, which have a slot for the HYVE's clip to slide into. The HYVE magnets are made with rare-earth magnets, so they're strong.
Herbst Produkt works to make its products eco-friendly. The HYVEs come with minimal packaging. And Scot hopes to be able to use an eco-polymer in future iterations.
End-users will often use whatever containers they have on hand; excess coffee mugs are one good example. (I took the contents of my normal coffee-mug pen holder to Herbst Produkt; you can see how it compares to a HYVE.)
But a product designed specifically for storage will meet a larger range of end-user needs than my coffee mug ever will.
The Kickstarter video does a good job of showing some of the many ways the HYVEs can be used.
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And some of the examples they listed in the kickstarter video were cringe-inducing. Organize nuts and bolts? How are you going to organize a diverse set of nuts and bolts with a few of those enormous containers. And the snacks in the cupboard were stored in 3 connected containers forming a triangle, which is pretty much the least space-efficient shape possible given the situation.