Monday, August 22 2016 09:50

Fall Cleanup: Continuing the Battle for an Organized Garage

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Rubbermaid FastTrack

They say to "pick your battles," but sometimes the war is right in front of you, raging on and on with no end in sight. For us here at Rock Father HQ, the garage is that war - and we've been fighting battles with it since we bought this house over six years ago. We have a lot of stuff, and since there's no basement, the garage is a multi-purpose room - a "facility" ("The Warehouse," as my dad once called it) used for storage, special projects, occasional video production, but largely the home to The Rock Daughters™' impressive fleet of vehicles and toys - like a Batcave or Q's lab, but for kids that are 4 & 7. Also factor in all the stuff we've been shoving out there for an eventual "mythical" garage sale that we can never seem to find time to make happen, and we have what to an outsider could look like some kind of hoarder situation - and it goes in cycles. The key to managing it is organization, and I first started tackling it back in 2014 when the Rubbermaid® FastTrack® Garage Organization System first came out. I started getting one wall straightened out, but there's been much more to attack. One of the biggest problems with being able to properly organize the place and really maximize the use of space is that the previous homeowners created a terribly-designed mess of "shelving" (if you can call it that) made out of scrap wood and junk - and much of it was connected, so lose one piece, and another would be affected. This past weekend, my wife and I fought a mighty battle to get another section in-order, namely my workbench and the area that surrounds it. After a trip to The Home Depot (with Finley, who wanted to help with check-out), I had all the pieces that I needed to start dismantling the mess, and rebuild with the good stuff.


At the backbone of the FastTrack system are the FastTrack® Garage Hang Rails, and I've hung several of those already. They're heavy-duty steel rails (with a nice black cover for a finished look) that can install on studs or in drywall with proper anchors (everything you need is in the required FastTrack® Garage Hardware Pack), and they hold up to 1,750 lbs - using up to 10x the storage space by utilizing the space between the studs. There's a ton of accessories available, each with a distinct purpose to bust out the clutter - like ladder hooks, tool hooks, cord winders, ball racks and more. Since I first started installing Rubbermaid FastTrack in our garage, they've since come out with 48" Slat Wall Panels that add a new dimension to what can be done, allowing more accessories for even more flexibility. Factor in the Rubbermaid® Wire Shelf and Uprights that are now available (they work with the Hang Rails), and the possibilities are truly endless.


Rubbermaid FastTrack

Four Tips for Installing Rubbermaid FastTrack

1. Make a Plan: Figure out what the objectives are - what you want to accomplish - and measure the area. Keep in mind that Rubbermaid FastTrack works best when planning in 48" sections.

2. Get the Gear: Get to The Home Depot to pick-up what you need, or order online

3. Double-Check the Measurements, and Drill: It's best to have a helper for this - hold your pieces on the wall to ensure the right fit. Drill your pilot holes (use anchors if needed) after using a studfinder to locate the studs if they're hidden behind drywall or plywood.

4. Load it up: Get your hooks and shelving all set-up. The beauty of FastTrack is the ability to move things around to fit your needs as they change. Even if things don't look just as you originally might've planned, you should be able to shift things to your liking.


For this section of the garage, my objectives were storage, organization and accessibility. I used Wall Slats to extend my work bench area to the right, getting many of my tools and supplies (tape, lightbulbs, etc) a proper home where they're not tucked away, but easily located. I also wanted to extend and maximize the storage above the bench for a mix of my you projects, gardening supplies, spray paints, etc. Running evenly-spaced FastTrack Wire Shelving across the top, I was able to get things off the ground and easily found. I even relocated my work light and properly hung it (another thing that came with the house and was hung all wonky). 


What a difference! Between giving everything a real home, and just weeding out some stuff that was past its expiration date, this space is usable once more, and once we have that epic garage sale (which will really happen next month), we just might be able to get some cars back into the garage again. Well, ones that aren't powered by a 12-volt battery.

Get started on your Rubbermaid FastTrack System at The Home Depot.

Bonus Pic: From the front of the room:


James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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