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Blog May 27, 2021

How to Move a Piano

Posted in How-to / By Jane Davis

The time of your move has come, and you’ve packed everything, but the piano sitting in your home is the only thing left to move. You love it, but not the idea of relocating it since it can be challenging to figure out how to move a piano yourself. In this case, it’s a great idea to hire a company, but if you would rather do it on your own, make sure to read all the tips and guidelines.

piano in a dark room There is no object you can't move

Can You Move a Piano by Yourself?

Essentially, if you put it on a packing list, it’s possible to move a piano all by yourself, but only if you get organized well. It’s very important to know its surroundings and stock up on items that will protect it. It’s necessary to mention that there’s a difference between types of pianos since the process is slightly different for each. It’s highly recommended to create a checklist of things to do before relocating.

Apart from essential equipment and research, people are crucial in making any relocation process more manageable. So, if you don’t plan on hiring experts, do your best to still get some helping hands on board. Think of friends that you can ask a favor of or neighbors that once borrowed your shears and now owe you one. This way, even if you’re relocating to live alone, you’ll still have people by your side to help.

Of course, there are some who shouldn’t be around when the operation begins – if you’re relocating with kids (or even with a dog, for that matter,) ensure they’re not around. You can get a sitter for your children or, if that’s not an option, entrust them with packing toys.

Basic Preparation

The essential part of your move that doesn’t require too much investment or props is measuring. We mentioned that the surroundings matter, such as the floor, type of room, width and height of doorways, and in case of transferring items down or up some stairs, the weight limit of the stairs. Additionally, consider the best time of year for relocating since warmer seasons are generally gentler.

Knowing the spaces you’re relocating from and into in equal measure matters a lot. You don’t want to get stuck in the process and break any precious bits, especially if you’re moving to a smaller home, or in the more complicated case, from a house into an apartment. It’s more important to work on this with thought rather than power since taking smarter steps is better than taking bigger steps in many situations.

Hopefully, you’ve planned everything out so that you’re not packing in a hurry since fragile items that require disassembling require time. After all, packing a piano is not the same as packing books. Additionally, even relocating with pets can be challenging, so try to ensure they can be properly taken care of by the people helping you.

Equipment You Need to Invest In

You’re probably wondering by now – does moving a piano damage it? It could if you don’t protect it well, which depends mostly on the equipment you have since packing fragile items such as pianos can be more difficult. Padding is the most essential part because that will protect your instrument and make it easier to move. Take a look around your house or find places to get cheap or free packing supplies, such as:

  • Blankets,
  • Pillows,
  • Cardboard,
  • Plastic wrap.

In the case of equipment to invest in, a four-wheel dolly or skid board can do most of the work during the transfer into the truck. You should also get straps for tightening and duct tape to secure the padding.

Other Recommended Equipment

You have to remember that injuries are a big possibility when lifting anything heavy, so investing in a high-quality shoulder harness is probably the best decision if you wish to move safely. This will keep your shoulders and waist as safe as possible if you also employ proper lifting techniques. While a delicate and expensive instrument could sustain damage, so could you.

Experienced movers use blankets designed specifically for covering equipment during relocation, the so-called mover blankets. Your own blankets could get damaged during the move, so if you don’t have any old ones or just want to save the ones you got, you can rent mover blankets from most companies in your area.

If your ivory instrument has to go up or down some stairs, you can invest in a hump strap. This can be used as an extension cord for lowering or lifting heavy objects, mostly around stairs. It’s like elongating your arm without causing damage to it. Hump straps are also great for your back and neck to remain unscathed.

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How to Move an Upright Piano

Moving an upright piano – it’s possible. Of course, it’s still not a task for the faint of heart, since it’s much like wrapping up electronics – one strike and you’re out. Some things to remember are: it requires two to three people, padding is essential, and a four-wheel dolly is the best kind to get. This dolly is better because of its stability and rubber tires, which protect all types of floors much better than other wheels.

The most important bits to pad and protect are the pedals and keys. Make sure to put a blanket over the keys and around the pedals. Afterwards, simply cover the entire upright instrument with blankets. Additionally, you can use duct tape, plastic wrap, or, better yet, shrinkwrap. It holds much tighter and reduces possible damage, but plastic wrap is stretchier and can be purchased anywhere.

Once the padding is on, use the wrap and duct tape to secure it all tightly in place and avoid slipping. Now, the instrument can go on the dolly. You can try doing this alone, but it’s practically impossible to do it quickly or safely, and you can even get injured if you’re not careful. There should be people on all sides while loading items onto the truck.

How to move upright piano

How to Move a Grand Piano

In the case of moving a grand piano yourself, this process is also possible, just a little more complicated, since the most important part is disassembling it. Disassembling is a necessary step when relocating large items, especially if it’s a delicate instrument. Ensure that the back lid is down (or removed if you have the skillset) and that the blankets are covering the keys.

Removing the legs and the lyre is crucial here, and another scenario where you will need help from friends. When the legs are being removed, you have to be careful, so one side doesn’t collapse from a lack of support. That’s where the voluntary but necessary manpower comes into play, as you have to hold up the sides where the legs have been taken off. Prop up the padded instrument sideways onto the dolly, secure it with straps, and move it onto the transport vehicle or truck.

Heavy items require careful thought

Additional Things to Consider

We’ve already mentioned using a shoulder harness or a lifting belt as great things to invest in when lifting heavy objects, but it’s also suitable for any kind of physical work that requires using your back and hips. If you’ve ever lifted anything heavy or bulky, you know that it can be like a whole other science. Lift wrong, and you can end up cramped in bed, causing severe damage to your body. In addition, it’s safe to say you shouldn’t do any kind of lifting if you are moving while pregnant.

A strange but important thing to remember is the clothes you wear matter, too. Try not to wear anything with zippers, buttons, or metallic decorations so as not to damage the precious instrument you’re relocating. The last thing you want is to have done all the hard work of padding your cargo for protection and then having it go to waste by accident.

Lifting Techniques to Protect Yourself

Whatever you do, most advice on lifting techniques will first say – don’t lift from your waist or your back. There’s no need to bend down and sprain yourself before you’ve even started, so make sure to bend your knees and lift from that part of your body while also engaging your center, the core. You can warm up with some squats before doing any work.

Be mindful to work smarter rather than harder when lifting and take full advantage of the equipment you’ve invested in.

More relocation hacks and great advice for lifting and relocating can be seen in this video.

How to Move a Piano with Professional Movers’ Help

If you’ve considered it and finally decided to get professional moving services – great decision. Moving companies have great trucks, and many specialize in packing and relocating specific items, so they would do this a lot more efficiently and quickly. Aside from having expert manpower, you’ll pay for both the necessary equipment and the professional packing services, and you can take advantage of the storage they offer. This greatly eliminates the stress of moving and makes it easier to handle other obligations around your relocation (move-out cleaning, for example.)

The Upsides of Hiring Experts

Because pianos might just be some of the most expensive items in anyone’s home, it’s usually a better idea to hire experts who were trained and have experience in transporting delicate items in a truck.

Pros definitely know how to haul items smarter and faster because it’s their job. For you, it might seem exciting to try packing up large items, but there’s a lot that can go wrong. If you’re relocating further, be certain that cross-country movers know exactly how to protect and pack your valuables, especially heavy and delicate items. We wholeheartedly recommend hiring people who would save you time and energy. However, we know that the cost worries everyone.

Experts have the necessary equipment for the move

Is it Expensive to Move a Piano?

It mostly depends on budget, but the size and type of cargo and the companies available in the area define this, too. If it’s a bigger instrument, there could be more manpower involved which automatically means higher costs. However, most people have instruments that are easy enough to move without breaking the bank. You can always check free quotes with several companies and calculate potential costs.

According to research on the national average, most companies charge between $100 and $1200 depending on the size and weight of the cargo, but it all also depends on whether you’re hiring long-distance movers or local ones. The common question is – how much does it cost to move an upright piano? Locally, that could cost up to $300, and long-distance around $800. For larger ones, you’d have to spend between $650 and $2000.

What If You Need Storage?

The best long-distance moving companies have storage facilities and provide safe-keeping of your belongings for up to one month, which is typically free. Basically, if the companies are offering relocation of an item, they can also store it for you. Opting for safe-keeping of your belongings in storage for a while is great if you’re relocating long-distance.

Hiring experts is always a good idea

The Best Option for Moving a Piano

Now that you know how to pack and prepare for relocation, we hope you’ll take the necessary steps and precautions to have a happy ending by having nothing broken or damaged. However, while it might be tempting to act as a handy worker for a day or two, we urge you to reconsider hiring professional companies for that purpose. Do so, and the only thing you’ll have to worry about is tipping your movers.

We all know that nobody, whatever reasons for relocation they have, wants to see their wallet empty at the end of a stressful move. It also matters to reconsider which items you should and shouldn’t move. There are companies that can offer you free quotes on long-distance services and free storage facilities for up to a month so that you can regroup and move without worrying. Later on, you’ll be in a better mood to handle neighbors that complain about everything (especially if you’re relocating to a small town) or take on the challenge of making new friends in the city.

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