As anxious as I was to start living in my new home, I found that things couldn’t be rushed. In the sequence of building a Vāstu home, you don’t take up daily living until the proper time. As for ground-breaking and cornerstone laying, a Vedic astrologer (Jyotishi) calculates the most auspicious day and time (Muhūrta) for the associated ceremony to bring maximum support of Nature to the effort.
To hit the move-in ceremony milestone, construction of both the home and Vāstu fence must be complete and the home must be comfortably furnished and provisioned. Prior to that, you don’t meditate there, use the toilets, cook on the stove, or otherwise “live” in the home. My builder took charge of the construction subject to the vagaries of weather and sub-contractor availability. I dealt with the furnishing and provisioning.
My Experience with Containerized Storage
Although it’s ideal to bring in new furniture, I had accumulated more than enough unique stuff that I wasn’t ready to part with. I told myself that I didn’t have the budget for both new home and furnishings, although that may not have been totally honest. Quite likely, if I had planned better, I could have reduced my moving and storage expense by getting rid of more stuff before I left Connecticut. As it was, I had four 16 ft. PackRat containers to deal with.
I chose containerized storage based on process design principles and cost. Having made more than a few major moves, I never liked the idea of having possessions packed into a truck, moved to a storage facility, unpacked and repacked into containers, and later delivered to a new location. What wasted manpower! Also, all that handling increases risk of damage. Even though the monthly storage cost was higher with PackRat than the estimates I received from several major moving companies, my total cost with containerized storage for a year was still about 25% less.
Both in Connecticut and North Carolina, I used MovingHelp.com to locate qualified labor. My experience in Connecticut was positive. The first crew I hired did an excellent job of getting the heaviest pieces out to the containers, even if they needed a lot of supervision to efficiently organize the space. By good fortune, the second crew included Uncle Andre who had professional moving experience. He was amazingly efficient in all his movements and in visualizing how to organize stuff in neat rows secured with nylon rope. Moreover, they were there for me when I needed to bring in another container on the day of closing despite a major snowstorm the prior day.
Unpacking at Blueberry Lane
We got our certificate of occupancy on Friday morning April 20. Only then was I free to schedule delivery of the containers. The earliest available date was April 26. Although I was chagrined by the delay, it worked out fine given the finishing site work that was still in progress. I decided to get the first two containers on the 26th, unload them on the 27th, replace them with the final two on the 28th and finish the unpacking on the 29th. Although it was an aggressive schedule, I needed to get the containers out of the way as soon as possible.
I was less fortunate with MovingHelp.com in North Carolina. The first crew came an hour late, apparently sub-contracted at the last minute by the guy I booked with. They were skinny, college age guys who arrived in a black Mercedes coupe. By then, I’d already unloaded a quarter of one container myself. While they were personable and eager, they lacked common sense with some of their maneuvers and needed constant supervision. Fortunately, they were able to handle even the heaviest pieces without injury. We completed the job in the four hours allotted, but they were exhausted.
The crew I booked for Sunday morning insisted on an 8 AM start. In coming from North Raleigh, that required an unusually early day. They also showed up an hour late, but with three guys in a dilapidated car instead of the two that I’d booked. Even though I’d specified non-smokers without influence of drugs or alcohol, one looked stoned. At that point, I didn’t have a good alternative, so I went with the flow and upped my vigilance.
They were mostly dealing with boxes. Even though I gave them an orientation to the home and had a floor plan posted at the entrance, they only achieved 80-90% success with placement and left things sloppily arranged. On the plus side, they got the job done in three hours and were satisfied that I’d pre-paid for 8 man-hours. More importantly, nothing was damaged. Better still, I survived without suffering the paper cuts that plagued me for months after my move from Connecticut.
Preparing for the Move In Ceremony
After unloading the containers, I realized my folly in thinking I would have been able to comfortably live in the home while completing the initial unpacking. It didn’t matter. When I received the Muhūrta recommendation, the choice was May 2, which was not achievable given the rain-related interruptions of site and fence work, or May 9. My children were already planning to come for a visit that week, so it seemed that Nature was organizing this for me.
I needed the time to get the home in adequate shape for visitors. Early on, I brought Marlene in to validate furniture placement. Then, room by room, I was able to make good progress. They were exhausting days, limited by the commute from North Raleigh. I became a frequent customer at the Fiesta Grill, a nearby hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant.
I was relieved to have help from my children on May 8 for the final push. Marlene took charge of making garlands to decorate the gates and entrance. We had dinner at Sassool so I could get a platter of sweets for the celebration and then stopped at the Dollar Store for balloons.
Inaugurating My Vāstu Home
The move-in ceremony serves to wake up the home to its purpose of supporting all positivity in daily life. We went out early to decorate the home and get it set to receive guests. About 9 AM, I spoke to the neighbors and friends who were able to come for the occasion, giving a brief orientation to what was to follow. Next, I led a procession of family members around the home. Finally, about 9:10, during the most auspicious interval available, I removed my shoes, slipped on my indoor sandals, and entered the home as its new owner occupant.
I then inaugurated the stove by boiling milk in a new pot as prescribed in the ritual while guests toured the home. Afterwards, we celebrated with sweets and enjoyed spontaneous offerings of good wishes.
For me, it was the end of a long journey, the fulfillment of a cherished dream, and the entry to a new phase of life.