Downsizing and would like to know 8 ways to dispose of an unwanted piano? It can be difficult to accommodate even the smaller versions of a piano in a condominium or apartment, so they are frequently first on the list of items to get rid of.
In recent years, the demand for pianos has significantly decreased and many find it a challenge to sell or donate due to their size and cost to move. Piano owners in the past traditionally handed down their pianos to younger generations, but that demand is now largely gone as well. Younger, musically oriented individuals are now moving toward space-saving, portable electronic keyboards.
Given the substantial cost that most piano owners originally paid, it can be disappointing to hear that their cherished investment has not maintained its value. The average piano’s value is only a few hundred dollars depending on the condition. Only the finest, rarest, limited edition or historically related pieces are garnering big bucks.
That having been said, you still have a piano to get rid of. Once you’ve come to terms with the reality of its marketable value, it’s time to look at your options.
What Are Your Disposal Options?
Here are 8 options to consider.
1. Start by calling your local piano store or piano service professional to get an idea of its value.
That often dictates which steps to take (sale, donate, etc.). If it’s a rare, highly valuable piece, they may be able to provide suggestions of individuals or businesses who would be willing to pay top dollar for it, including the possibility of an auction.
If it isn’t a rare, valuable piece, then you can move on to the following options.
2. Sell it online.
These days people are selling pretty much anything online and pianos are no exception. Sources like eBay, Craigslist, Nextdoor.com, and Facebook Marketplace are some good examples of where to place ads.
Just make sure to indicate in your ad that you are only selling within your local geographical area, not nationally. It’s also a good idea to clearly state that the buyer is responsible for the cost of picking it up as piano moving can be expensive.
Online ads will require several photos showing all angles of the piece, so people can get a good idea of its condition. Most take pictures with their cell phones, download them to their computer, and then upload them from there.
3. Trade it in for a new, smaller model or electric keyboard.
Maybe you still play and want to continue to have a piano in your new home. If a smaller piano or keyboard will fit, consider trading yours in. Check with your local piano store to see if they will accept trade-ins.
If they don’t accept trade-ins, they may consider #4.
4. Consign it.
Many large piano stores will consign quality pianos that are in good condition. If they sell it, they’ll take a percentage of the price and you get the rest. You may, however, have the responsibility of delivering the piano to the store.
5. List it on a piano forum for “adoption”.
There are several online piano forums available now that will list your piano for adoption. Schools, churches, or music organizations for kids are always looking for a free or low-cost piano for their music programs.
Most notably there’s pianoadoption.com, which claims to be the largest piano “adoption” listing site in the world. But there’s also pianoworld.com and pianostreet.com which are great resources where you can ask other piano lovers for suggestions or find interested buyers.
You can also find information on piano tuners, dealers, teachers, or piano mover resources in your area.
6. Donate it to a charitable organization.
You may or may not have the time, energy, or inclination to do what it takes to sell your piano. Many of my clients have ended up donating their pianos to a local school organization, their favorite charity, or church.
This option is appealing because it’s being appreciated and used within your community. There may be tax benefits as well. Some have indicated that they got more in tax benefits than they would have netted in selling it.
7. Sell it for parts.
If it isn’t in good condition or worth selling as a whole, you may be able to break it down and sell it for parts. Check with your local piano service organizations to see if there’s a market for this in your area.
When I researched this option, several sites came up including Amazon, Etsy, and others. If you have the time to do more research, start with www.howardpianoindustries.com. They sell piano parts and may know other resources that can help. You can contact them via their website to get more information.
For some taking apart a beloved piano is out of the question. For those already facing the stress of moving, this may be one of the last options a person is interested in tackling.
8. Have it picked up by a junk service.
The last option is to have a junk service, like 1-800-Got-Junk, come and pick it up. This is a pay-for-pickup service that can run you anywhere from $200 to $600. However, you will not get a tax benefit versus a charitable organization donation.
So, there you have it! 8 ways to dispose of your piano! Before you consider any of these options, be sure to gather as much information on your piece as possible so you’re able to answer the inevitable questions that most advertising sources, piano stores, etc. will require.
You’ll also need this information to establish an estimated value. This should include the original cost, year of purchase, the manufacturer, style (Baby Grand, Upright, etc.), condition, any related special history, or other pertinent information you can gather.
I know it can be difficult to let a family treasure like a piano go. There are so many memories attached to it from years of enjoyment. But there are so many options for it to be a treasured new addition to a family or organization that will continue to love and appreciate it.
P.S. Struggling with how to approach the purging and disposal decisions that have to be made before moving? Check out my Letting Go of Life’s Treasures: A Downsizing Guide for Purging and Disposal video guide by clicking here.