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Decluttering Your Home

The dos and don’ts of storing a piano in a storage unit

Choosing whether or not to put your piano in storage isn’t always easy. But, if you’re running out of space or are simply looking to declutter, clearing out such a large item can help you create some much-needed room in your home. 

If you’re a piano owner, chances are that despite their robust look you’re already aware of how fragile and delicate they can be. An expensive instrument, a piano can be easily scratched or broken, so it’s important that you take proper care of it, especially if you’re moving it into storage. Read our dos and don’ts, along with our top tips to avoid any unnecessary and expensive repairs.

  • Where should I store my piano?
  • How much space do I need for piano storage?
  • How do I clean my piano before it goes into storage?
  • How to protect a piano for storage
  • How do I care for my piano while it’s in storage?

Where should I store my piano?

While a piano might be large, it’s also extremely delicate, and so you’ll need to take extra special care to store it in the perfect environment. As you’ll need to choose a place away from direct sunlight and high humidity levels where the temperature isn’t likely to fluctuate,  storing a piano in a storage unit is ideal.

This is because, if the temperature is too warm, the wood and keys of your piano are likely to swell, while parts of the instrument may also come unglued. Similarly, if your environment is too humid, you run the risk of parts rusting.

Do: store your piano inside, preferably in a self storage unit where it will be safe from the elements and extreme temperatures.

Don’t: ever store your piano outside – the temperature fluctuations can cause permanent damage to your instrument.

How much space do I need for piano storage?

The amount of space you need for storing a piano in a storage unit depends entirely on the exact size of your instrument, and how you’re planning on keeping it. Just remember that you need to store your piano upright to keep it in perfect condition. If you’re unsure, take a look at our size estimator now or read our blog on how much storage you need for more information.

Don’t forget to factor in any extra space for additional equipment storage, such as for a bench, any sheet music or cleaning supplies.

Do: store your piano upright, and with enough space around it to move freely around your self storage unit.

Don’t: cram your piano into a tiny space, or use it as a base to store other items.

How do I clean my piano before it goes into storage?

woman cleaning piano keys with a cloth

Before storing a piano in a storage unit, it’s important to ensure it is protected and fully clean to improve, this is because any dirt, temperature changes or humidity can cause long-term damage to your instrument. Here’s how:

  • Step 1 – First, using a soft cloth or feather duster, lightly brush away any surface dust from the cover and keys, being careful to avoid scratching the surface of the piano.
  • Step 2 – Using a slightly damp, lint-free cloth, wipe down the keys, making sure to follow up with a dry cloth to remove any remaining moisture. Ensure you’re always using an up and down motion to clean your keys, as moving side to side could cause water and dust to get between the keys. 
  • Step 3 – Take another soft, damp cloth and continue to wipe down the outside surfaces of the piano, again drying all surfaces immediately to remove any excess moisture.

If you’re unsure about any aspect of your piano, or are unable to achieve the finish you’re after, get in touch with a professional piano cleaning service

Do: take note of the materials your piano is made of, and ensure you always test your cleaning products first on a small, unexposed area to avoid damaging the finish.

Don’t: use rough materials or harsh chemicals, and never spray cleaning products directly onto the keys or allow water to seep into the cracks between them, as this can cause permanent damage.

How to protect a piano for storage

In order to properly protect your piano during a move or while it’s in storage, it’s important that you invest in the right packing materials, not only to help protect it, but also to make sure all the parts are kept in place. This is especially important when it comes to piano storage, as any damage can be extremely costly. 

Once your piano is clean and dry, you’ll need to gather together the appropriate storage and breathable packing materials to protect your instrument while in storage and allow air to circulate. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Heavy duty blankets, bedding or furniture pads: to prevent scuffs of marks while moving or in storage
  • Packing tape or rope: to secure the layer of protection 
  • Dust protector for keys:  Placing a soft cloth or dust cover over the keys before closing the lid allows for extra protection from spillages and to prevent the build up of dirt or dust
  • Plastic wrap: As a final layer for added padding. Just be sure not to use plastic wrapping directly on the piano itself, as it won’t allow air to circulate.
  • Bungee cords: depending on the type of piano you have, and how you’re planning on getting it into storage, you might also need additional supplies like bungee cords to help with your move.

Do: store your piano upright, and off the floor to keep it away from moisture or external dirt and always use additional blankets and protection to avoid scratching the outside.

Don’t: lay your piano on its side, as this can warp the frame, or put your piano in storage without proper padding

furniture pads stacked for piano storage

How do I care for my piano while it’s in storage?

As we’ve mentioned throughout, pianos are expensive and fragile items, which is why you’ll want to check on your piano every so often while it’s in storage,  just to check how it’s doing. If you’re storing your piano for a longer period of time, you should head over to your unit every other month or so, carefully unwrapping your instrument so it has space to breathe. Similarly, checking on it regularly will help you to quickly identify any damage if it does occur, 

Do: regularly check on your piano to ensure it’s in perfect condition, and hasn’t incurred any damage while in storage.

Don’t: play your piano while it’s in storage, and avoid unwrapping the protection around it too frequently.

Our top tips for storing a piano in a storage unit:

  • Invest in movers: whether you’re redecorating, are moving house or are simply looking to declutter, a piano is not just an expensive investment but can also weigh a huge amount, so it’s a good idea to call in professional movers to help you put it into storage safely, and without any damage – either to your piano or yourself.
  • Ask for a storage unit with interior walls only: to reduce the possibility of damp or damage to the material of your piano, 
  • Acclimatise your piano: if you’re storing your piano in a different temperature, you’ll need to gradually allow the instrument to get used to the new temperature before you put it into storage to avoid damage.
  • Rest your piano before you tune it: pianos need time to settle and get used to a new environment, so once you’ve removed your instrument from storage it’s a good idea to leave it for a few weeks before having it tuned.

Now that you’ve read through our top tips for storing a piano in a storage unit, have you got any do’s or don’ts of your own to share? We’d love to hear your advice! 

If you’ve got a question about our piano storage, or are looking for more information about our self storage facilities, get in touch with our friendly team today, or find your local store now.

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