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How to Take the Top Off a Jeep Without Losing Your Cool

How to Take the Top Off a Jeep Without Losing Your Cool 0

Jeep owners have their cars because they love exploring the outdoors. But nothing is more annoying than wasting a beautiful day in your garage fighting to remove the hard top from your Jeep. Sure, it’s easier if you can talk someone into helping, but what if that’s not an option? Here’s how to take the top off a Jeep by yourself without losing your cool. 

How to Remove Jeep Wrangler Hard Top 

Jeep Wrangler hard tops are popular because of their durability. They are more sturdy, secure, and quieter than soft tops, and better protect the interior of your Jeep. Plus, they provide the option of using a roof rack to carry outdoor gear. 


However, hard tops are more difficult to remove, which presents unique challenges. Here’s how to remove your Jeep hard top—both the hard way and the easy way.

Hard Top Removal the Hard Way

Removing the hard top is a two-person job. Without the help of some equipment, it is not recommended to attempt to take off your Jeep hard top by yourself. Not only can you damage the top, but you can hurt yourself as well. 


So, the hard way to remove your Jeep hard top by yourself is to wait until you have a second person to help, especially when it’s perfect surfing conditions. 


How to remove your Jeep Wrangler hard top once you do finally track down a helper is to simply follow Steps 1 and 2 below, removing parts in order as suggested by the owners manual, then work with your partner to slowly lift the hard top off, keeping it level. 

Hard Top Removal the Easy Way

The good news is you don’t have to wait around for a family member or buddy to be free to take off your Jeep hard top and head off for an outdoor adventure. Garage Smart’s Jeep Hard Top Lifter lets you quickly and easily remove your hard top—no special skills or helping hands required. 

Step 1: Release Interior Latches

On the inside of your vehicle, undo all the latches that connect your hard top to your vehicle. You may need to move sun visors to reach latches. 

Step 2: Disconnect All Securing Points

Check your owner’s manual to find all the places your hard top is secured to your vehicle (it may vary by model year and the number of doors).  If you have a newer model Jeep with lights or other electrical components, disconnect those as well. Remove all bolts that secure your hard top and store those in marked containers or plastic bags. 

Step 3: Lower the Hoist

With your smartphone, lower the Jeep Hard Top Lifter to rest on top of the Jeep roof. The soft, anti-scratch pads will protect your hard top as it lifts. Connect the hooks to the edges of your hard top. 

Step 4: Raise the Hoist

Using the app on your phone, lift your Jeep hard top safely off the vehicle and overhead.

Jeep Hard Top Storage

Removing your hard top is only half the battle; you need to safely store it too. Our Jeep Hard Top Lifter is also the perfect Jeep hard top storage solution (it also comes with freedom panel and accessory storage). After you remove your hard top, it can stay suspended overhead, out of the way and ready for when you want to put it back on. 

How to Remove Jeep Soft Top 

While Jeep soft tops provide less protection and are less durable than hard tops, they are more versatile. Soft tops are also much easier to remove, and it can be accomplished by a single person.

Step 1: Release Front Latches

On the inside of your vehicle, release the front latches from the windshield. You may need to move sun visors to access them.

Step 2: Remove Side Windows

Unhook the Velcro and unzip any zippers on your side windows. Do not fold the windows.

Step 3:  Remove or Roll Up the Back Window

Depending on your Jeep, the back window may come out or be rolled up (elastic loops will hold it in place). Unzip any zippers and release the back section from the vehicle. 

Step 4: Release the Back Corner Sections

With your back window removed or rolled up, release the flaps from the soft top sections connecting the top to the back corners of the vehicle. Flip those up to lay on top of the roof. 

Step 5: Release the Top

Pull on the tabs near the front to release the top. 

Step 6: Gather and Tuck the Top

While guiding your Jeep soft top toward the rear, gather the material in neat folds and tuck it all in behind the back seats. 


If you’re wondering how to remove the Jeep soft top completely to store outside the vehicle, fold the top all the way down. Use the Velcro straps that come with the Jeep to secure the top’s bars together on each side. Then remove the two screws on each side that hold the frame into the rollbar, and set aside your soft top.


Now enjoy the freedom that comes with knowing how to take off the top of a Jeep. Happy exploring!

  • Erica Burton
Cleaning Up After the Holidays: 10 Christmas Decoration Storage Ideas

Cleaning Up After the Holidays: 10 Christmas Decoration Storage Ideas 0

Christmas decorations certainly make the holiday season feel more special, but there’s no denying it—they’re also a serious amount of work. If you’re desperate for new holiday storage ideas, here are 10 genius ways for storing Christmas decorations in the garage during the off-season. We’re certain these tips will make the decoration packing process go off without a hitch this year.

1. Store Ornaments in Apple or Egg Containers

Have you ever opened up your box of Christmas ornaments, only to find that half of them broke while in storage? Avoid the issue by storing ornaments in plastic apple containers (like the kind you find at Costco) or cardboard egg containers. They’re the perfect fit for most ornaments, keeping them protected and organized until Christmas comes around again.

2. Wrap Holiday Lights around Cardboard

Holiday lights look great when they’re lighting up your home or Christmas tree, but they can be a major pain to set up. Make it easier on yourself by wrapping lights around a thick piece of cardboard. This free storage solution is an easy way to save yourself a great deal of headache when you pull the lights out of storage next year.

3. Put Gift Bags in a Magazine Rack

Does your collection of holiday gift bags seem to grow with every passing year? Reusing gift bags is a great way to save money and protect the earth, but it can be tricky to store your growing pile. Keep gift bags organized and protected by placing them in a handy, inexpensive magazine rack. You can do the same for birthday gift bags you’ll want to access throughout the year.

4. Hang Your Wreaths on a Rack

Wreaths pose an especially tricky storage conundrum. They’re so delicate they might easily crumble if you leave them laying flat, and so big you probably don’t have many places to put them. Solve the issue by wrapping wreaths in a plastic garbage bag, then hanging them in the closet or on a rack in the garage. They won’t take up much space, and they’ll be preserved all year long.

5. Collect Wrapping Paper in a Garment Bag

If you have an unused garment bag laying around, put it to use as an efficient way to organize your wrapping paper. Garment bags are often clear, so you can see your wrapping paper without having to unzip the bag. They also come with a hanger, so you can store the wrapping paper rolls right next to your wreaths.

christmas storage

6. Store Garland in a Wide-Mouth Bottle

If you have tinsel-style garland or shiny beads that you hang on your Christmas tree, you may be familiar with the struggle that comes from untangling this festive decor. Luckily, you can resolve the problem by storing each string of beads or garland in a plastic bottle. (Don’t put two strings of beads together, or you’ll still be untangling them when you take them out next year!)

7. Preserve Your Decor With Solid-Color Containers

Many people like to store Christmas decor in clear plastic bins so they can see where everything is without opening it. While this is a great idea in theory, it can fade the Christmas decor over time. Choose opaque, solid-color containers to keep your decorations out of the sunlight while in storage.

8. Shrink Wrap the Christmas Tree

Faux Christmas trees are practical and economical, but they also pose the issue of finding a place to store them all year round. And sometimes even putting them back in the box they came in can feel harder than wrestling a bear in the wild. Make your tree ultra-compact by shrink wrapping the branches before you return them to the box. Genius.

9. Hang Ornaments on Wooden Rods

If you’re not keen on storing ornaments in apple or egg containers, we have another solution for you. Carve out holes in a storage box, then fit several wooden rods into the holes. Now you can easily string your ornaments along the rod, keeping them in tidy rows during the off-season.

10. Store Ribbons in a Box

Do you find yourself with tons of ribbon scraps while wrapping Christmas presents? If so, don’t throw them away. Instead, store all of your ribbons in a shoebox and keep them around for next year. You can also use them for projects or to make bows throughout the rest of the year.

Learn More Today

Now that you have all your boxes organized so nicely, where are you going to put them? If the garage is already packed to the maximum, consider the Garage Smart Platform Lifter—an inventive way to store all of your bulky boxes. Learn more about all of our garage overhead products today.
  • Erica Burton
How to Dress for Winter Cycling [4 Tips to Keep You Going in the Cold]

How to Dress for Winter Cycling [4 Tips to Keep You Going in the Cold] 0

For many cycling enthusiasts, the idea of putting aside their bikes for an entire season is enough to send them into a slump. But the onset of winter doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the bicycling season. With the right prep and these four tips on how to dress for winter cycling, you can stay in the saddle all year round.

Tip 1: Keep Your Core Warm

The number one rule when heading out on your bike on cold days is to make sure your core stays warm and dry. But it’s important that you don’t overdress. Both insufficient clothing and too much clothing can lead to hypothermia or dehydration. 


Since it is cold outside, people assume they need a lot of clothes to stay warm. This can get you in trouble because when you ride, your body produces plenty of heat and sweat. It’s possible for you to actually become too hot and sweaty. Then when you stop, like at traffic lights, that extra heat dissipates and leaves you wet and shivering. 


Tip 2: Wear Layers

Wearing layers is the key to dressing for winter cycling. Then when you warm up, you can peel off the layers. You will want to be able to strip them off quickly and easily without having to stop in the cold, so make sure all layers have zips for quick and easy removal. 


A good rule of thumb is to wear three layers on the top half of your body, and two layers on the bottom. Fortunately, there are a lot of good winter cycling gear options to choose from. 

Top Layers

  1. Base - The purpose of a base layer is to keep you dry. Make sure your base layer is made from a sweat-wicking material, like merino wool, polyester, or nylon/spandex. Avoid cotton, which soaks up sweat and holds it next to your skin.
  2. Middle - Over the base layer, wear a warm middle layer. A fleece pullover or jacket works well.
  3. Outer - Your top layer should be a waterproof and windproof cycling jacket or shell. Look for vents to allow breathability and a longer cut in the back and arms. Two-way zippers are another excellent feature, which allow you to open the jacket from the bottom to shed heat while still keeping your arms and upper torso covered. 

Bottom Layers

  1. Inner - Just like with your upper body, the goal of the base layer on your legs is to keep them dry. Long johns or bib tights are popular choices.
  2. Outer - Selecting the best outer layer for your legs depends on the weather. If it’s rainy or snowy, you want something that is waterproof. If cold is all you’re dealing with, not rain or snow, then an outer layer that is windproof will work.  

Tip 3: Winter Cycling Gear for Your Head

Along with your hands and feet, your head is prone to getting chilled and is a place where you can lose body heat. A quick look at a bicycle helmet will reveal an immediate concern in winter weather: it’s full of holes. So how do you keep your head warm?


A wool stocking cap, helmet liner, or balaclava worn under your helmet can do the job. Just make sure your choice is thin enough to fit under your helmet and is long enough to protect the back of your neck. Another good option is a helmet cover. 

Tip 4: Good Gloves Are a Must

To enjoy winter cycling, you need to keep your hands warm and dry. If you are riding in an area where rain is a factor, make sure gloves are waterproof and have non-slip grip on the palms and fingers (handlebars get slippery when wet). 


For colder climates, shop around for gloves that will keep you warm, whether they are specifically for cycling or not. Skiing or snowboarding gloves may work just as well. You can also layer with glove liners to give your fingers a little extra boost of warmth and you the option to shed the outer layer if needed.

Winter Bike Storage

Riding your bike during the winter can be extremely rewarding, but only if you’re well prepared. Just like having the right clothing can make or break winter cycling, how you store your bike in colder months is also important. No one wants to fumble with their bike every time they want to ride it. 


Garage Smart gives you the next generation in hassle-free bike storage with our Multi-Bike Lifter. It keeps your bikes safe and secure, with easy access whenever you’re ready to ride. Then, head over and check out our full line of convenient overhead garage storage solutions for simple ways to store your winter cycling gear when it’s time to put it away.
  • Erica Burton
Transform Your Garage with the Best Paint for Garage Walls

Transform Your Garage with the Best Paint for Garage Walls 0

Face it, the garage is often the forgotten workhorse of the home. It houses and protects your cars, sports gear, lawn equipment, tools, bikes, camping paraphernalia, and a whole host of other possessions. Yet the interior of many garages looks neglected—unfinished plywood and studs or taped drywall. Give the hardest-working area of your house a simple facelift with the best paint for garage walls, and you’ll be surprised how much it transforms this functional space into one you don’t mind spending time in. 

Proper Prep Is Vital 

While it isn’t difficult to paint your garage, there are a few differences from painting regular walls in your home. Follow these steps before you paint garage walls and you’ll be much happier with the result.


Step 1: Protect the Rest of the Garage

Before you begin, take down anything hanging on your garage walls, and move everything away from the walls. Cover the floor, outlets, hardware, and anything else you don’t want to get paint on.

Step 2: Ensure Proper Ventilation

Any kind of painting has fumes that are not healthy if breathed in too much. Make sure you have good ventilation when you begin your garage wall painting project. 

Step 3: Clean Garage Walls

Garage walls and ceilings tend to be unfinished, often only taped and drywalled. Add in exposure to the outdoors every time you open your garage, your cars going in and out, chemicals and other things stored in there, and it’s no surprise garage walls are dirtier than the ones in your home. They have likely accumulated dust and dirt, and may also have oil stains or water damage. These stains can bleed through paint if left on the surface. 


Clean the walls with a Shop-Vac (recommended) or broom to remove the majority of dust and dirt. Then wash the walls with a mixture of water and dish soap. (Dawn cuts through any grease well.) There’s no need for stronger cleaning chemicals or a pressure washer, which can damage the soft surface. If the walls of your garage aren’t that dirty, you can skip washing them.


Once your walls are clean and dried completely, you can move on to the next step.

Step 4: Prep the Surface

Prepping your garage walls will require different steps, depending on the material. If your walls are not already sheetrocked, you may have some extra work to get them ready for painting.


  • Drywall - Fill chips, dents, and nail holes with drywall compound and sand them smooth.
  • Wood - Multiple rounds of cleaning and sanding are required.
  • Brick - Clean with a wire brush and borax.
  • Concrete - Fill cracks and clean the surface well.

Step 5: Apply Primer

After cleaning the walls, it’s time to prime them. Determining which primer you need, or if you need to prime at all, depends on what you’re working with.

Drywall

Normal paints are not made for drywall, which is a porous material. Therefore, if your garage walls are unpainted drywall, you will need a good surface drywall primer, or PVA primer (polyvinyl acetate). A PVA primer seals the pores in sheetrock and creates an even coat. It will also make your paint last longer. 


If you skip primer and simply paint garage walls directly on the drywall, most of the paint will soak into the sheetrock. The finish will be bumpy and uneven, and won’t look as good as it could. So make sure your hard work pays off by not skipping this essential prep.


NOTE: Although it may be tempting, don’t think you’ll save time by applying a paint and primer in one product. Drywall primers seal the surface better than a paint and primer in one, which may require three to four coats. Using the right primer from the start will give you better results in fewer coats, and ultimately cost less, as well.


There are many drywall primers to choose from, like Glidden, Behr, Kilz, Valspar, and Benjamin Moore, to name a few. 

Painted Surface

If your garage walls are already painted, determine if a latex (water-based) or oil-based paint was used. If you don’t know, a simple test can tell you: 


  • Clean an area of the wall then soak a cotton ball or Q-tip in rubbing alcohol. 
  • Run it back and forth over the cleaned area. 
  • If paint comes off, it’s latex; if paint doesn’t transfer to your Q-tip, it’s oil-based.

You don’t need to prime if your garage walls are already painted with latex paint, unless you’re trying to cover a dark color with a new, lighter color or stains are bleeding through the garage wall paint. If you do have stains, use an oil-based primer over the stain area (like Covertstain, Preprite Problock, or Kilz) then let it dry. If the stains are large, apply primer to the entire wall.


If your Q-tip test revealed that you’re dealing with oil-based paint, you will need to use a bonding primer. Why? Because we suggest you use an interior latex paint to paint garage walls, and latex paint doesn’t bond well to the finish of oil paint. Without the proper surface prep, you run the risk of paint failure. Sanding the surface before applying the bonding primer can also help it stick well. However, you can skip this step if you choose to use another oil-based paint.


Some bonding primer options are: KILZ Adhesion Bonding Primer, Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond Primer, or X-I-M UMA Bonder.


It’s Go Time: Garage Painting Tips

Now your walls are prepped and you’re ready to roll your way to a sleeker, more finished-looking garage. Here are some tips to help you get results that will make any weekend-warrior proud.

Tip 1: Mind the Temperature

Painting your garage may seem like a worthy winter home improvement project, but if you live where temperatures often dip below freezing in the colder months, it may be better left for spring. The same goes for the height of summer in hotter climates. Most paint manufacturers list minimum and maximum temperatures for painting because temperatures outside that range mess with the paint curing process. 

Tip 2: Applying Multiple Coats

Just like painting any walls, you may want more than one coat of paint to get the desired look. Simply make sure the current coat is dry before adding another coat.  

Tip 3: The Best Paint for Garage Walls, Ceilings, and Floors

The best paint for garage walls and ceilings is interior latex paint, though oil-based paints can also be used. Latex paint is quick drying, can be thinned with water because it’s water-based, and has less odor/vapors than oil-based paint. It’s also easier to clean up with soap and water, and is less irritating to your skin. 


Oil-based paint takes longer to dry, must be thinned with paint thinner, and has a strong odor and fumes. It is also much more challenging to clean up, since you can’t use soap and water.


WARNING: Do not use exterior paint in your garage, thinking it’s more resistant to stains, scratches, scuffs, or mold. Exterior paints often have toxins that can be harmful if used indoors, even in a well-ventilated room. There are many durable interior brands that are safe options for garage wall paint.


The same paint can be used for garage walls and ceilings. Garage floors, however, must be painted with a brand that is specifically designed to be used with cement. Usually homeowners seal garage floors with an epoxy-type coating, rather than paint.

Tip 4: The Best Paint Brands for Garage Walls

Most paint manufacturers have good options for painting your garage walls, from household names like Glidden and KILZ to eco-friendly newcomer Montage Signature. You don’t need to choose the most expensive paints and primers for painting your garage. Simply make sure you select a PVA primer and the paint is good quality and latex-based. But you can’t go wrong with Sherwin Williams Promar 200 Zero VOC Eggshell (latex), or the Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Acrylic Satin or Semi-gloss.

Tip 5: The Best Color for Garage Walls

To brighten what can often be a darker space, many people like to paint garage walls white. But white shows every scuff, dirt streak, and mark. It grows dingy fast in a space like the garage that is regularly more exposed to dirt. However, dark colors can visually shrink your garage. 


The best colors for garage walls fall in between bright white and dark colors, and can hide dirt while still looking good. Don’t forget to take into account the color of your garage door, the door to your house, and the floor of your garage, if it’s colored.


The best colors for garage walls are:


  • Grey
  • Tan
  • Beige
  • Neutral blues and greens

Most people prefer to paint garage ceilings white or match the walls. 

Tip 6: Tools You Will Need

Nothing is worse than discovering you forgot some essential supplies when you’re in the middle of a painting project, with an open paint can and paint-covered brush or roller. Use this list to make sure you have everything you need before you are elbow-deep into painting your garage.


  • Shop-Vac or broom
  • Rags
  • Drop cloth
  • Painter’s tape
  • Bucket
  • Soapy water
  • Paint roller with extendable handle (9 inches long with ½ inch nap)
  • Paint tray
  • Edging brush
  • Drywall compound, putty knife, sanding block (if you need to fix any wall blemishes)
  • Drywall primer
  • Latex interior paint

Organize Your Newly-Painted Garage

Now that your garage is sporting its fresh new coat of paint, make it even more pleasant and functional with the most convenient storage solutions by Garage Smart. Our next-generation products can help you turn unused overhead space into versatile, 100% safe, and simple storage, like this tool rack that keeps all your lawn equipment together and out of the way.


See how Garage Smart can take your garage organization to the next level today.

  • Erica Burton