How to Store a Piano – Piano Storage Tips

How to store a piano, with storage tips from Kent image
How to store a piano with storage tips from Kent

Need to know how to store a piano? Pianos are incredibly fragile, requiring special treatment to mitigate the risk damage. Our step-by-step process provides all the piano storage tips you’ll ever need.

Step 1: Find the right storage space

Step 2: Assemble the appropriate packing and storage materials

Step 3: Thoroughly clean and polish your piano

Step 4: Cover the keys and to keep the dust out

Step 5: Remove any wheels or casters

Step 6: Secure any music stands

Step 7: Wrap your piano in heavy-duty blankets and protective plastic wrap

Step 8: Hire professional removalists, or carefully follow a piano moving plan

Step 9: Return to your storage space periodically to check the condition of your piano

Step 1: Find the Right Storage Space

Pianos are extremely delicate and are especially sensitive to fluctuations in temperature and less-than-ideal climates. For example, most piano manufacturers recommend that pianos are stored in stable temperatures, with humidity of no more than 42%. As such, you need to select your storage space carefully.

Traditional self-storage spaces have no protection against environmental factors. If it’s humid, the space is humid, and if there’s a cold or hot snap, your piano will suffer. With this in mind, you should opt for a secure storage provider that offers things like climate control and protection against other environmental factors, such as dust, dirt and pests.

Step 2: Assemble the Appropriate Packing and Storage Materials

To store such a treasured and valued item, you need to invest in quality storage materials. You will need to the following when it comes to storing a piano:

  • Heavy duty moving blankets: to protect your piano against bumps, scratches and dents while it is in transit and in storage
  • Protective plastic wrap: to protect your piano even more piano against bumps, scratches and dents while it is in transit and in storage
  • Heavy duty packing tape, ropes or straps: to fasten your moving blankets around your piano
  • Furniture straps: to give you a better grip when you’re manoeuvring the piano by hand
  • Moving dolly: an absolute necessity, you should only invest in a dolly that has four heavy-duty wheels
  • Moving vehicle: it’s best to find a moving vehicle that has a hydraulic lift, if you can’t find one, make sure that truck has a loading ramp. You want to make getting your piano onto the truck as easy as possible to prevent possible breakage and damage. A lift or a ramp will make the journey onto the moving truck far gentler than lifting your piano. Plus, it is much safer for your back.

Step 3: Thoroughly Clean and Polish Your Piano

The cleaner your piano is, the more likely it is to be in a better condition when you take it out of storage. To clean your piano, check the manufacturer instructions for cleaning and polishing your piano first, and then:

  • Use a feather duster to gently remove any dust from the keys. Be sure to work very gently, as even dust can scratch and permanently mark the surface of your piano
  • Take a soft, lint-free white cloth and dampen it with water (wringing out any excess liquid). Using the damp cloth, wipe down the keys to remove any dirt or dust. Be sure to wipe the keys down with a dry cloth immediately awards to remove any excess moisture. You should use an ‘up and down’ motion, rather than a ‘side to side’ motion, which can push dirt and dust in between the keys
  • Take a soft, lint-free white cloth and dampen it with water (wringing out any excess liquid). Using the damp cloth, wipe down the outside surfaces of the piano to remove any dirt or dust. Be sure to dry all surfaces immediately awards to remove any excess moisture
  • Polish the outside surfaces of your piano by applying a small amount of polish to a soft, lint-free cloth. Always apply the polish to the surface in the same direction as the grain of the wood and be gentle on the corners and edges of your piano. Keep in mind that you should only use specifically-manufactured piano polish, not general-purpose furniture polish as this can damaged your piano. Also, only polish your piano if it really needs it—polish can actually damage the fragile internal mechanisms of a piano
  • Above all, ensure that your piano is completely free of dust and moisture before you wrap or store it.

Our top piano storage tip? Resist the urge to tune your piano before it goes into storage. Instead, tune your piano once you have removed it from storage. Remember to let your piano acclimatise to its new environment before having it tuned—let it rest for at least two weeks after removing it from storage before having tuned.

Step 4: Cover the Keys and to Keep the Dust Out

Piano keys are incredibly fragile so it is essential that they are protected during a move and whilst in storage. If you don’t already have a dust protector for your piano keys, now is the time to invest in one. Alternatively, you can use a suitably-sized soft, white, lint-free cloth.

Place your key protector or cloth over the piano keys, and ensure that that the piano lid is closed and secure. If there is no lock on your piano lid, consider securing the lid with some tape. Just keep in mind that some types of packing tape are prone to leaving sticky residue on the surface of your piano lid.

Step 5: Remove any Wheels or Casters

When it comes to safely and securely storing a piano, you will need to remove any wheels or casters on the base of the piano. Keep in mind that you should never try moving a piano using the metal wheels on its base. For the most part, these wheels are decorative, designed to move the piano around a room, not down a hallway and onto a removals truck.

Step 6: Secure any Music Stands

Ensure any music stands are laid flat, flush against the side of your piano. If possible, secure the stand to the side of the piano, once again keeping in mind that some types of packing tape are prone to leaving sticky residue on the surface of your piano.

Step 5: Wrap Your Piano in Heavy-Duty Blankets and Protective Plastic Wrap

Wrap your piano entirely in heavy duty moving blankets to prevent scuffing and marks whilst it is in transit and in secure storage, being careful to ensure that every inch of the piano is covered.

Once you have encased your piano in moving blankets, secure the blankets with packing tape, ropes or straps.

After the bundle is secure, cover it entirely with plastic wrap to protect against moisture infiltration whilst it is inside your storage unit. 

Step 6: Hire Professional Removalists, Or Carefully Follow a Piano Moving Plan

When it comes to knowing how to store a piano, enlisting the help of professional piano removalists is highly-recommended at this point. You can irreparably damage your piano during transit, and professionals will help to greatly reduce this risk of damage. However, if you want to move your piano yourself, follow the most appropriate process below.

How to Move a Small Upright Piano

If you need to know how to move a small upright piano, simply follow these steps:

  • With the help of your able-bodied assistants, lift the piano firmly from underneath the body
  • Taking slow, small steps gradually walk the piano out to the moving truck
  • Keep the piano in its natural, upright position at all times to protect its fragile internal mechanisms
  • Remember to stop every couple of metres, put the piano down, rest, and reset your grip
  • When you reach the moving truck, the two strongest people should pull the piano up onto the truck, while the other two (or more) people should push the piano up, helping to guide the piano up the ramp. Never have anyone stand behind the piano, just in case it rolls backwards down the ramp.

How to Move a Large Upright Piano or a Baby Grand Piano

If you need to know how to move a large upright piano or baby grand piano, simply follow these steps:

  • Place your moving dolly at one end of the piano
  • Ensure that there are at least two (if not more) people at the dolly end of the piano. These people will need to support the weight of your piano, and keep it upright and even, as it is placed on the dolly
  • With the help of able-bodied assistants, gently lean your piano onto the dolly. Never use gravity to lean your piano backwards; given the weight of a piano, it can quickly overpower you
  • Keep the piano in its natural, upright position at all times to protect its fragile internal mechanisms
  • Slowly roll the piano towards the moving using the dolly. You should place the strongest people on each corner and have one person pushing the dolly. Be sure to stay close at hand, support the weight of the piano, and keep it steady
  • If the piano is too high to fit through a doorway, you may have to carefully remove the dolly and lift the piano through, before placing it back on the dolly
  • When you reach the moving truck, the two strongest people should pull the piano up onto the truck, while the other two (or more) people should push the piano up, helping to guide the piano up the ramp. Never have anyone stand behind the piano, just in case it rolls backwards down the ramp.

Keep in mind that the steps outlined above may not be suitable for moving all types of pianos (particularly if they are extremely large, heavy or bulky), or if you have to move a piano up or down flights of stairs or through narrow openings. To avoid any personal health and safety risks, we recommend consulting a professional piano removalist.

Step 7: Return to Your Storage Space Periodically to Check the Condition of Your Piano

Given the fragility of pianos, one of our top piano storage tips is to return to your storage space periodically to check on its condition. If this isn’t possible, store your piano with a provider that you can trust to provide you with frequent condition reports.

Follow this step-by-step process, and you’ll know how to store a piano. Of course, if this all sounds far too difficult, you can contact the expert team at Kent Storage—we’ll take care of the wrapping, packing, moving and secure storage for you, all with just one simple phone call.