Nobody imagines they’ll ever get rid of a piano when they buy or inherit one. Pianos bring the joy of music into the lives of their owners. Why would you ever want to get rid of that?
The fact is, people downsize, they move, pianos grow old and break, and people outgrow them. If you want to get rid of your piano, follow one of the methods below.
What Can I Do With an Old Piano I Don’t Want?
You have more options than hauling your old piano to the landfill. Pianos are expertly crafted instruments that retain a high value, even if they’ve fallen into disrepair or grown old. Carefully consider your options before choosing a piano disposal method.
1. List It for Sale
Pianos are unlike any other instrument. Musical instruments of both the string and woodwind variety are, for the most part, all portable and can be held in your hands. Pianos, however, are massive, cumbersome instruments that must be wheeled around and are almost impossible to get from room to room without serious hoisting equipment.
While the first piano was crafted in the early 1700s, humankind had understood the musical properties of taut, vibrating strings for millennia. Pianos were the latest innovation in various instruments, including the dulcimer, the clavichord, and the harpsichord.
This is a roundabout way of saying: pianos are incredible instruments that take care and attention to craft. Don’t just have them hauled to the junkyard.
If your piano is in good enough shape, list it for sale. They can be so expensive if you buy them new that the market for refurbished and pre-owned pianos is thriving. eBay and Craigslist are popular sites for resale, but you might want to try Facebook Marketplace. It’s much easier to negotiate with potential buyers and scope comparable listings, so you know what price to put up your ad for.
Don’t Forget To Call Your Local Piano Technician
Before listing your piano for sale, contact a local piano technician. These folks are more highly experienced with pianos than anyone else – including world-class players. That’s because they know how pianos are made and know how to repair them.
More than anyone else, a piano technician can give you a fair price on your piano.
2. Give It Away to Friends, Family, or Students
Pianos are precious instruments; why would you want to give yours to a stranger? Or worse, have it hauled to the junkyard and smashed into smithereens?
People who love their pianos spend quality time with them, poring over the keys and imbuing the instrument with special memories. Keep those memories close by gifting your piano to family, friends, loved ones, or students if you’re a piano teacher.
If you’re feeling generous, you can give away your piano for free. But don’t underestimate the value that these instruments value even if they’re worse for wear. Even if you offer your piano to a friend or loved one for free, they may counter with an offer to buy it at some value. If only for the fact that pianos are difficult to move, you might want to charge them just a bit. Go ahead and call it labor costs.
3. Repurpose It
You can find an incredible amount of piano repurposing ideas on sites like Pinterest, DIY Network, and Make. Each part of the piano can be repurposed to make something beautiful and new, including the keys, the casing and lid, the strings, the hammers, the soundboard, and the pedals. Here are just a few ideas:
Grand Piano Bookshelf
You can clear out the insides of a body of a piano, all the strings, hammers, and the soundboard, and repurpose it. One of the best ideas is to create a piano bookshelf. Stand the body of the piano upright and install shelves inside the gorgeous, curved structure.
Piano Lid Table
Remove the piano lid from the instrument’s body and unscrew the hinges. That broad, flat surface can be fitted with legs and used as a coffee table. You can even revarnish and give it a fresh coat of paint for an updated look. The piano legs can also be repurposed for this table.
An upright piano can be refurbished to make an excellent bar cart. Remove the keys, and you have a three-tier shelving unit with a foldout compartment for bottles. Line your glasses along the top, liquor goes inside the compartment where sheet music is stored, and use the lip of the piano to mix your drinks.
Piano Key Chandelier
This idea is for the authentic arts and crafts obsessives out there. Remove the piano keys and adhere them to the outside of a hanging light sconce you can pick up at a thrift store. The light that will filter out from between the keys will be tinkling and beautiful, just like the sound of the piano itself.
4. Trade It in for a New One
Many instrument shops have trade-in policies that give you a discount on a new instrument when you trade in your old one. Often the qualification is that the credit from the trade-in is only valid if applied to an instrument of the same make.
Your old piano must also be in decent condition because refurbishment can only go so far.
5. Donate It to a Local Charitable Organization
It’s worth stating again: pianos are expensive. Plenty of budding musical geniuses out there may never get the opportunity to learn piano because ownership costs are prohibitive.
If you’re looking to get rid of your old piano, consider donating it to a charitable organization that connects kids with instruments that they can’t afford for themselves. Call your local chamber of commerce to get an idea of the kinds of organizations in your area that could benefit from being gifted a piano.
Even if you want to donate your piano to a thrift shop, it is likely your piano will eventually end up in deserving hands. But always call the charitable organization before you drop yours off to see if they’re prepared to take one. Most of your typical non-profits may not be equipped to handle the capacity of a piano. So, look for organizations that specialize in repurposing these musical instruments.
Much has been written about the fact that the increased popularity of thrifting clothing is helping make a huge dent in pollution and the over-production of cheap consumer goods. But the same goes for instruments like pianos!
6. Use a Piano Removal Service
Because pianos are carefully designed and complex instruments, some companies specialize in piano disposal. They shouldn’t just be offloaded at the local dump. See if a professional piano removal company is in your area and how much they charge for their services.
Two factors will determine the cost: the weight/size of your piano and its location. Rates can range from under $300 to over $2000, depending on the job’s difficulty.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Old Pianos Worth Anything?
The age of a piano doesn’t matter. What matters is what condition it’s in. There are three-year-old pianos that, due to factors like storage condition and intensity of use, are worse off than 30-year-old pianos. Your old piano is worth something; you just have to find someone who understands its value.
Are Old Pianos Hard To Sell?
Old pianos are not necessarily hard to sell. They’re an item that will forever be in demand, and because of the cost of new pianos, there will always be folks looking for pre-owned and refurbished pianos. The hard part is making the transfer to the new owner or owners.
How Do You Dispose of a Broken Piano?
Piano disposal must be approached carefully, as piano parts do not simply break down if thrown into a landfill. Here’s how to do it the right way:
- Determine whether your piano can be resold, refurbished, or junked.
- Call local charities, recycling facilities, piano technicians, and removal services to understand your options.
- Schedule a pick-up time.
- Clear a path for the removal.
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