Yesterday, we cleaned off the top of the refrigerator where we keep cereal boxes. My boys have a bad habit of leaving about a quarter inch of cereal in a box and open a new box instead of eating the dregs. I have a bad habit of not correcting them about this.

After pulling out all the cereal box liners to use in place of wax paper or to wrap freezer foods in, I had a stack of broken down cereal boxes to put in the recycling bin.

I once used cereal boxes as the backing for yard sale signs. I put the information about the yard sale on the back of my boys’ old homework papers and glued them to the cereal boxes. This made the paper sturdy so the signs could be read easily when hanging in the neighborhood. That has been the extent of my reusing cereal boxes, but with the stack I had yesterday, I started to wonder what else could be done with them.

In general, I don’t like reusing items to make crafts just for the sake of reusing an item. Eventually, you just have to throw away the craft. I like to find ideas for reusing items that are really resourceful and can save me from having to buy something I would have otherwise needed to buy. If I hadn’t reused homework papers and cereal boxes for yard sale signs, I probably would have had to buy poster board. Reusing items I already had saved new resources from being used and saved me money.

There are other uses for cereal boxes like that. Here are a few from resourceful, creative people around the web.

  • Cut the front flat side of the box on three sides to make a flap. Use the box for multiple cupcakes going to school, or homemade treats you may take into work or wherever. No lost storage containers and you can throw the box away when you are done with it. (via lanar on Thrifty Fun)
  • I tear off the top flaps, paint them, then add embelishments to the out side, add two handles made from paper twist that has not been opened and have cute gift bags! This works with any cardboard type box. (via Garden Lady on Thrifty Fun)
  • Cut them into proper size postcards to use as party invitations, ways for kids to keep in contact with extended family, or any quick snail mail correspondence. (via TLC)
  • Document/photo protector. Cut two pieces of cardboard from a cereal box to protect a photograph or document when mailing or storing. (via Repurposeful)
  • Use them as mailing boxes. Open them up and turn them so they're inside out and tape shut. You can cut to any size you need. You can now write the address on the plain side, stamp and mail. (via Tip Hero)
  • Cut out rectangles from your empty cereal boxes. Write words, numbers or simple sums on them with a large marker. Use them as flash cards to help your kids learn to read and add. (via ehow)
  • Neatly cut boxes into notecard size and write recipes on them to keep in a recipe box. (via MNN reader Jasmine)

Do you have any other ideas for resourceful uses of empty cereal boxes?

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Kitchen recycling tip: Cereal boxes
Before they hit the recycling bin, here are seven ways to repurpose cereal boxes into useful, money saving items.