Shopping Carts for PE? – FREE storage and STURDY transportation for your equipment!

I haven’t always had an obsession with shopping carts.

I mean, there was definitely a time when I didn’t…

…purposely cruise around the back of my local Target to see if the recently replaced carts were still stacked behind the building waiting to be recycled or

…stop to examine an abandoned cart on the side of the road to check its integrity and wonder if it would fit in the back of my SUV or

…marvel as I pushed a Costco cart – admiring not only its dimensions but how gracefully and quietly it moved across the floor or

…exhaust my family by constantly explaining the wheel to cart ratio or other riveting features as we push through Trader Joe’s or Home Depot.

Why the obsession?

I began working at my current school in Atlanta back in 2007. Unlike my previous schools where I taught in the “cafegymatorium”, this one had a spacious, beautiful gymnasium and a breathtaking playground. The only minor issue was logistics. The gymnasium was located at one end of the school and the playground on the other. Not many people would care about this commute unless you are a PE teacher. Seeing as we are a traveling classroom, we need to move our equipment from the gym to the field on many occasions.

We had the standard blue ball cages with casters to roll to and from the field. However, the terrain was simply too rugged for the cages, which are intended for indoor use only. In no time the wheels would bend or completely fall off.

BTW quick hack – If ball cage wheels do stop working, remove them completely and attach scooter boards to the bottom of the cages – see below.

We DID have one smaller, yet extremely durable 4-wheeled beast that was our go-to mode for transporting equipment! Its steel construction and firm rubber tires secured with heavy-duty bolts made it seemingly indestructible. My teammates and I often brag that it could easily survive being thrown off a cliff. It’s bombproof!

The GREEN BROTHERS NURSERY Shopping Cart! What it lacks in stature it makes up in sheer toughness. Although we’re not sure exactly how long it’s been at our school, we know it’s been carrying PE equipment for more than 27 years. This combined with its service hours at Green Brothers Nursery is all the proof one needs to understand that its a work-horse, a tank. Never, NEVER has anything ever broken or needed repair on this classic.


For years, my team and I fantasized about acquiring another cart, maybe a little bigger. Then one spring afternoon, my colleague and I made a Home Depot run to pick up some storage bins to organize our equipment room. As we pulled into the parking lot we both saw what seemed like hundreds of carts. Both cart corrals were filled as well as the entry-way to the store. Along the side of the building, there were no less than 30 carts stacked one inside the next.

“We should ask if they would donate one to our school.”

It never hurts to ask. As my wife always says, “the worse they could say is no.” So I took a page from her playbook and asked the first person I saw wearing a Home Depot vest. I stated my name and the school I was representing followed by this question. “Would you be willing to donate a shopping cart to our PE program?” My intention was to go into a long explanation of specifically why we needed it to defend such a “bold” question. However, before I could say anything else the representative responded,

“How many do you need?”

What, what, WHAT?

Trying to remain calm and composed, my colleague and I looked at each other before sheepishly asking, “Can we have…five?”

After double-checking with a manager, the gentleman returned and said,

“If you have room, pull your car up to one of the cart corrals and take six. Just make sure they’re not the newer ones.”

You always hear about the feeling people get when they first learn they won a lottery jackpot. I think I now know what that feels like. We pulled up my minivan, opened the hatch, and slid six carts, stacked together on their sides (if you have a Toyota Sienna, you can easily fit up to eight carts).

Elated, we closed the hatch, once again thanked our new friend from Home Depot, and continued back to school with the newest members of our PE family.



What’s Next?

My eyes are now set on the ultimate prize. How awesome would it be to have our very own warehouse shopping cart? I’m talking about Costco or Sam’s Club. Bigger, smoother, and made of durable steel and/or plastic, this would be an incredible addition to our cart ensemble!

Earns Costco

In all honesty, our carts are used regularly in our program. If we’re not rolling them out to the field, they are storing equipment. When not using them at all, they stack up nicely in a corner of our equipment closet. I highly recommend them to any program. Oh, and the price was right! All you need to do is ask. The worse they could say is no.

For anyone still reading, here’s a little fun I had with our carts.


I would like to once again thank Home Depot for their generous donation. The carts have truly made our jobs easier. We appreciate all you do for the community.

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7 Comments on “Shopping Carts for PE? – FREE storage and STURDY transportation for your equipment!

  1. Justin, I’ve always dreamed of owning my own shopping carts (who hasn’t?) but always thought “what do I know about owning a shopping cart?”. Thanks to your in-depth shopping cart review and buyer’s (?) guide, I think that now I’ve got the confidence I needed.

  2. This was not only informative but enjoyable. It has me thinking about other uses for shopping carts for organizations, other work areas, even at home! Thank you for the fun video!

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! I was thinking to myself that only a shopping cart would do to safely get through all the glass doors and get my P.E. equipment back and forth to the bumpy field each day. I was searching for a legal and cheap way to acquire one. Will get myself to the Home Depot soon.

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