Simplify pantry organization and keep breakfast cereals fresh for longer with this simple trick.

By Jessica Bennett
May 19, 2020
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Courtesy of Jessica Bennett

Cereal is a breakfast staple in many households, but those cardboard boxes aren't exactly ideal for long-term pantry storage. The flimsy cardboard flaps tear easily and never seem to stay closed after opening. The result? An unappealing look and cereal that dries out way too fast. If you're tired of ripped box tops and stale breakfast, I have the hack for you.

Using a simple fold-and-tuck method, you can secure cereal box tops for streamlined pantry organization that also helps keep the contents fresher for longer. A video demonstrating the technique recently went viral on Facebook, garnering more than 140,000 shares. "Had to share this!!! It's only taken me 40 years, but I now know the correct way to close a cereal box," the user, Becky Holden McGhee, writes. "It takes seconds, no more dried up cereal and ugly torn boxes to greet me every morning."

To close a cereal box for better freshness, tuck both small side flaps and one long flap into the box. Fold the two short sides of the box inward to create a "V" shape and pinch the sides together. Then slide the other long flap into the box, tucking it between the inner fold and the opposite side of the box. The flaps should now remain neatly inside the box, creating a tighter seal and a more orderly look.

Once folded, you can store the boxes lined up vertically or stacked horizontally. The tightly sealed top means you don't have to worry about releasing an avalanche of cornflakes all over your kitchen when storing the box on its side. And though decanting your cereal is generally the best way to save space and keep it fresh, this trick is a nice substitute if you don't have an extra set of storage containers lying around.

Once you've mastered the folding technique on your cereal collection, try it on snack crackers, pancake mix, and other boxed pantry items. If it comes in a cardboard box, this technique can help you simplify pantry storage and seal in freshness.

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