As long as you are strong and agile, you can probably move most boxes and furniture yourself without much hassle. Moving a piano, however, is a very different beast. Pianos are so easily damaged by the slightest bump or exposure to humidity. Especially if you have a valuable piano, it is usually best to hire a professional piano mover to transport this large, yet delicate instrument for you. However, if you do insist on moving a piano by yourself, there are some dos and don'ts you should adhere to in order to minimize the risk of costly damage.
Things You Should Do:
1. Ask friends for help.
Spinet and console pianos usually weigh 200 - 300 pounds. Classic uprights weigh about 500 pounds, and baby grand pianos weigh in at about 500 pound as well. Obviously, you're going to need some strong helpers to move your piano, regardless of its size. A team of 3 will do for a smaller spinet or console piano, but you need at least four people for any larger piano. Make sure anyone you ask for help is strong, healthy, and obedient to instructions.
2. Get the right equipment.
Rent a dolly and furniture straps when you rent your moving truck. These are sometimes included with a moving truck free of charge, but some companies will charge you a few dollars extra for them.
3. Close the lid before moving.
Close and lock the lid to protect the keys. If your piano's lid does not lock closed, you'll need to use some tape or a bungee cord, preferably made from soft material that won't scrape the piano's finish, to secure the lid.
4. Use the moving straps and keep the instrument upright.
Always use the moving straps to lift the piano onto the dolly as this makes it easier to keep the piano straight and upright during lifting. Do not transport the piano on its side or even at an angle, as this can damage the intricate inner workings of the instrument. Once the piano is on the dolly, you can roll it into the next room, out the door, and up the ramp into the moving truck. Make sure some helpers push the piano from behind while others pull from the front. This helps keep it from tipping.
Things You Should Not Do:
1. Move the piano down stairs yourself.
If you need to move the piano down a flight of stairs, do not attempt this yourself; hire a professional piano moving company. Getting the piano down stairs without damaging it is very, very difficult and you need specialized equipment to do so.
2. Move the piano without proper padding.
You don't want to bump the piano on the corner of a wall or on the side of the moving truck and cause cosmetic damage to its finish. So, wrap the exterior in a blanket or furniture pads before transporting the piano. Make sure the corners, especially, are protected. You can place bubble wrap around the corners and then secure it with tape (just wound around the bubble wrap and not actually touching the piano).
3. Panic if the piano sounds a little different after the move.
No matter how careful you are not to tip or jostle the piano, it will probably come slightly out of tune during your move. So, do not panic if it sounds a little different in your new home. You can have a professional tuner come out and re-tune it, restoring its previously beautiful sound. The average cost of hiring a piano tuner is around $100, depending on the economy in your area and the type of piano you have.