Monday, May 24, 2010

Lobster Network: A Place to Share Your Stuff!


It's a beautiful Cape Cod day.  The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and if you breathe really deeply you can almost taste the salt on the air.  The days of beaches, ice cream, and lobster are beginning.  It's the best time of the year.  I dream of the days lounging with a book while the kids splash happily in the water.  But before that can happen, we need to finish up our school year, go through all our books and curriculum and decide whether to keep, sell or loan, categorize and price things before our annual sale, figure out what we need for next year and whether it needs to be bought or borrowed, etc., etc. Before I can dream of lobster rolls, there's another kind of lobster I have for review that I think will be a big help with much of the above To Do list.

LobsterNetwork.com is a free service that provides a place to document your goods and then categorize them as Inventory, Loan, Sale or Trade items.  Once you sign up, you can enter an item one at a time.  You list it by name and then choose a category; Audio, Household, Print, Video, Video Games, Other. Then you choose the category to list it in and whether it is accessible to your friends, your private communities, or your public communities (Inventory is seen only by you).

I haven't had much time to invest in Lobster Network as of yet, but I can see the possibilities.  Support Groups could use this as a way to share resources among them.  Several homeschooling families in my local group seem to enjoy sharing their curricula.  This would be a good way to keep track of who has what.  For me, this would be a good reminder when I come across that book that I know I borrowed but I can't quite remember who I borrowed it from.  Or when I need that book I know I loaned out but I can't quite remember who I loaned it to.  Happens frequently with my brain.

Our annual used curriculum sale is coming up.  This will be helpful in listing my sale items and keeping track of what is sold and what is left to sell online.  I'd also love to eventually inventory my entire school closet, as I have purchased resources I already own too many times to admit.  I really wish we could add our own categories though, as it'd be great to list these items by school subject.  Then when I needed something for science, I could take a quick peek at what I already own using Lobster Network, rather than standing in front of the open closet staring blankly.

It seems to be a pretty useful resource and it's FREE.  Can't beat that!

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