Recently, my partner and I tested the limits of our relationship by moving and redecorating our apartment without the help of any professionals, an endeavor that experts on this very site have aptly compared to being hit by a train. To keep our expenses as low as possible, and my spirits up, I resorted to my personal form of retail therapy: perusing free apartment furnishings online. Like all Strategist staffers, I am an inveterate bargain shopper, but I also have a particular knack for finding freebies, often on my neighborhood Buy Nothing group and the free stuff section of Craigslist (both of which are on my bookmarks bar). During the move I nabbed us a vintage, six-drawer dresser, a wooden, drop-leaf dining dining room table, and a collapsible bookshelf, among other things (all of which we wiped down before use). Some found items — namely, a Lodge cast iron pan, and a vegetable themed-clock — were easily transportable by bike, but most, like all of those listed above, were not.
Since my partner is more resilient in the face of manual labor than I am, our plan was to move the furniture by foot, with as many water breaks as necessary. But, as we set out to pick up our first item — a green loveseat sleeper sofa — I suggested that we bring a collapsible Magna Cart hand truck, which I’d found while cleaning out our front closet earlier that day, in the hopes that it would make the move slightly easier. At first glance, the collapsible hand truck didn’t seem sufficient for transporting a clunky-looking sleeper sofa even for a couple of blocks; the hand truck folds up to about the size of a backpack and only weighs seven pounds. But, the Magna Cart is a sleeper (pun intended).
Since it is engineered from aluminum, instead of a more flimsy material like plastic, it’s quite durable, and at full height it extends to over three-feet tall, with an 11-by-15-inch base, which provides a good deal of surface area. Plus, we brought along two bungee cords for reinforcement.
After a little bit of finagling we strapped the sofa to the cart, and rolled it three avenues (the equivalent of about nine blocks) home. The cart’s rubber wheels navigated uneven pavement pretty well, and, to my relief, we didn’t have to lift the sofa more than a couple of feet. In fact, the hardest part of that move was fitting it through the front door. Our next pickup was an Ikea side table and desk, this time located nearly two miles away from home. Again, we set out with the Magna Cart and bungee cords in hand, and again, we rolled our furniture home with ease.
Admittedly, that move was the farthest we took with the Magna Cart, but towing a desk and a side table even a couple of miles is no walk in the park (literally). My partner and I did rent a one-day U-Haul to move some furniture from farther away, but even then the Magna Cart was indispensable: We used it to roll boxes of books, bookshelves, and a dresser down several blocks and up and down stairs. Also, it’s worth noting that the hand truck doesn’t move itself; it was helpful, and at times necessary, to have another person to share the rolling and street-safety responsibilities.
Our final pickup was the 68-inch drop-leaf dining room table from Craigslist. You might want to use a car, it’s about 70 pounds, texted the seller, causing me a moment of concern. But my partner just grabbed the Magna Cart, and after stopping for dinner with a friend in Fort Greene Park, we headed over to Boerum Hill. As he expected, the table fit on the hand truck with ease, and on the walk home, I even had an extra hand to carry a printer that I found on someone’s stoop.
If pink isn’t your style, the same Magna Cart is also available in red-and-black for $13 more.
You’ll need bungee cords in order to attach furniture to the Magna Cart, and this six-piece set includes 12-inch, 18-inch, and 24-inch bungees so that you can mix and match depending on what size object you’re moving.
This heavier-duty hand truck from Magna Cart is made out of steel instead of aluminum and has a capacity of 200 pounds.
For your biggest of moves, Magna Cart also manufactures a dolly-style cart, which can hold up to 300 pounds but still folds flat for easy storage.
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