Packing and hauling a piano

Packing and moving a household of furniture is always a headache (and backache) for me. I usually underestimate the amount of time required for proper packing and tend to resist asking others for help. Yet, I've moved often enough, that each time I do so, I feel like I've learned enough from prior moves to make the latest move a breeze. However, it never is easier, because with each new move I have MORE furniture to deal with than prior moves. And no, I am not a hoarder! I am an accumulator 🙂 And more furniture (with the same amount of movers: 1, . . .me) makes for an exhausting moving weekend.

You may be wondering, "Does he really expect us to believe he moves all his furniture as a team of one!?" The answer to that is a resounding (and painful) "Yes!" . . . except for one piece: the piano.

A single, solitary person can accomplish great feats using the right tools (dollies, hand trucks, ropes, lifts, etc.). Think of the pyramids, for crying out loud. We STILL haven't figured out how they did that, but . . . THEY DID.

(Anyway, returning from Egypt and back to our moving saga . . .)

The piano is the ONE piece of "furniture" I absolutely will ask for help in moving. Why? Well, as a pianist, I consider the piano to be part of the family, and I don't want to drop anyone in my family on the ground, now do I? Do you? No. I have no problem accidentally dropping a bed-frame or buffet, but to drop a piano?! Heaven forbid.

Sadly, many people look at a piano as just another piece of furniture, and I suppose, if you aren't a keyboardist, never tune it, and instead use the piano as a fancy-looking shelf to hold plants and framed-photographs. . . then, yeah, I guess it is just another piece of furniture. But those of us who actually care about treating the piano as the complicated instrument it is, complete with hundreds of pieces and finely-calibrated components, you'll want to treat it as you would fine china.

If you have a piano and are planning to make a move, here is some helpful advice:

*Note: This advice is for STUDIO PIANOS, not grand pianos. Grand pianos require a totally different level of moving instruction.

(1) Remove the music backstand, if possible.

(2) Wrap, but not too tightly, the piano in plastic (to prevent scratching). Unfortunately, there really is no such thing as a packing box sized for a piano :/

(3) Have FOUR adults lift the piano and remove the castor wheels. Never roll the piano using the castor wheels.

(4) Place the castor wheels in a plastic bag and put inside the piano bench.

(5) Ideally, have the four adults dead lift the piano and walk it slowly, taking breaks as necessary, to the moving truck.

(6) Load the piano as the LAST item in the moving truck.

(7) Ensure the piano doesn't have anything placed on top of it. This includes the bench. DO NOT place the bench upside down on the piano.

(8) Secure the piano to the wall of the moving truck using straps. For added care, place a moving blanket between the strap and the piano. Resist the temptation to make the straps too tight. This might damage the wood.

(9) When you arrive to your destination, unload the piano FIRST and do so with great care.

(10) Take the piano directly into the home. Don't EVER store a piano in a storage unit. Mice will find it and build nests inside using felt from the damper cloth and hammers, . . . effectively ruining the instrument.

(11) After the piano had acclimated to the room (give it a few weeks), have it tuned. Tune it again four months later.