Pianos are beautiful instruments that require a lot of care and training to build and maintain. Well-maintained pianos can last well over 100 years!
Unfortunately, many pianos fall into disuse and eventually, disrepair. Old pianos that are not taken care of properly become a large, heavy thing that people end up wanting to get rid of.
Do you have an old piano you can no longer keep in the house? In this guide, we will tell you how to get your piano out of the house – whether the piano is worth money, worth giving away, worth re-purposing, or in the worst case, worthy or the recycle or dump.
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Can You Sell Your Old Piano?
Selling pianos is tricky, because they are so big that not many people are interested in moving it. Typically, if someone is looking to buy a piano, they have a budget and are looking to buy new or gently used.
If you have a new or gently used high-end piano, you have a chance at selling the piano. Go to Piano World and use their piano appraisal tool to get an idea of how much your piano is worth.
Once you know how much it worth, you have two options. You can list the piano on Craigslist, eBay, Kijiji, or wherever your local classified listings are. List the year, make model, and serial number and then wait for a buyer.
Alternatively, if you have a high-end piano in good condition, you could try to sell the piano through a show room. They may be able to sell the piano for you. A showroom will take a commission, but it may be an effective and stress-free way to sell the instrument.
If you are listing the piano yourself, make sure to take lots of attractive pictures. Pianos are part-instrument, part-furniture, so you want to give people an idea of the look.
The Truth About Most Old Pianos
Old pianos in your childhood home or in your grandparent’s home may by nearly 100 years old (or older). These pianos were bought at a time when pianos were the only form of entertainment at home – no TV or radio, just music!
Many instruments gain value with age, but old upright pianos are not usually that instrument. Sadly, pianos have lost a great deal of value over the years.
Most old pianos are generic, out of tune, and some of them are beyond repair. If the piano has sat for long enough, it may have developed cracks in the soundboard, sticky keys, keys that triggers two notes, and other problems that usually spell the end of the piano’s life.
The fact is, you are unlikely to sell an old upright piano for more than a couple hundred dollars – and that is if the piano is in good condition.
That said, old pianos are not worthless. They are not worth much to a serious musician, but to beginners they may be worthwhile. Somebody may need a piano for a project or church or community center. Here are some options for getting rid of an old piano.
Donating Your Old Piano
The easiest option for people with a decent old piano that is no longer worth much, is donating the piano.
Post your piano on Craiglist or Kijiji or your local classified. List the piano as “Free” and specify that whoever buys it must pay to have it moved and tuned. This is the surest way to get your piano out of the house.
You could also consider taking the piano to your local charity shop or goodwill. These places may or may not take the piano, given that they are large and hard to move. Call ahead!
You should also look into organizations like The Beethoven Foundation, Piano Adoption, or Sing For Hope. These organizations take good quality used pianos and put them into homes that need them. Your piano will go to a budding musician – awesome!
Finally, look at free community swap sites like Freecycle or Bunz. These sites have people trading items all the time, and you can be sure the piano will go to a cool, like-minded individual.
In all of these cases, your piano will have to be in respectable shape. It should be in good enough condition to play, or at least good enough to repair. If your piano is in very poor shape, you may not be able to give it away.
Recycling An Old Piano
Before you dump your old piano, consider some cool DIY piano recycling projects. There are lots of uses for a piano.
One of the coolest things you can do with an old piano is turn it into a bar. Check out this DIY method for turning an upright piano into a bar. This is a bit labor intensive, but it really just involves taking the piano apart. You don’t need to build in extra wine racks and such!
I’ve also seen people turn an old piano into a work bench with places to hang hand tools, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc. You can turn an old baby grand into a pretty cool looking wall shelf.
People have turned pianos into garden planters. You can also take the piano apart and use the parts for different things. For example, the harp, which is the part that holds the strings, could be used as a lattice in a garden. The legs of a grand piano could be turned into a rolling table.
Of course, many of these options will be a little too labor intensive for most people. When you want to get rid of a piano, sometimes you just want it to leave your house.
The last recycling option to investigate is actual piano recyclers. Some recyclers or piano technicians will break down a piano for parts. You can recover wood, screws, cast iron, and various parts from an old piano this way.
Recycling can cost more and be more labor intensive than just throwing something away, but it can be worth it. Good quality wood can go to a piano shop or a school’s wood shop. Ivory can go to a piano-repair or building shop. Steel wire, copper, and hardware can all be recycled.
There are recycling options for those who are interested! It takes more work to recycle the piano, but if you have sentimental value attached to the piano or struggle with simply throwing it away, it is worth investigating.
Taking The Piano To The Dump
Unfortunately, the most common way to get rid of an old piano is simply to dump it. How do you know if taking the piano to the dump is the right move?
Have your piano looked at by a piano technician or an experienced pianist. They will be able to tell you if it is worth fixing, selling, donating, or recycling. If the piano is in disrepair and is unable to be fixed, you can take it to the dump.
If you’ve tried selling it and tried to give it away to no avail, it is also time to take it to the dump. It is sad, but with these old instruments, it is what it is.
Unfortunately, disposing of your old piano this way will cost you some money. A landfill will charge you to dump it. You can also find companies or local authorities to dispose of the piano, but again, this will cost you money.
How To Get Rid Of A Piano – Final Thoughts
It is not a great time to be selling a used piano. It was already difficult throughout the 2000s to sell used pianos, but since the recession value has plummeted further.
Still, if your piano is playable, I would recommend trying to sell it for a small fee, donating it for pickup, or recycling it somehow before taking it to the dump. Ultimately, don’t feel bad about having to get rid of an old piano. That is the reality of these instruments that used to be so popular!