How to Open a Potato Bag.
Or any bag that closes with string.

When someone sends me an Ask Karen question I answer it with the lightening speed of a sloth eating a brick of saltwater taffy.

So when Leslie sent me a message last winter about how to open a bag that’s sewn closed with string … I got to work.  I got to work cleaning the fridge, and brushing my cats, and making a house of cards out of Oreo cookies and avoiding any sort of organized exercise program.

I also taught myself to do origami out of homemade fruit leather.

After I’d exhausted all methods of avoidance, I set my mind to figuring out exactly how to open a bag that’s sewn closed with string at the top.  Because who hasn’t been completely frustrated staring down at a bag of potatoes KNOWING if you just pull the right string … it’ll open like magic.

So I dressed myself in a suit made of cabbage leaves, went to the grocery store, crouched down low, and practiced on all of their potato bags.  With my clever camouflage I remained inconspicuous for more than 3 minutes.

Then I got kicked out of the grocery store.

After months of research, vandalism and fridge cleaning … I figured it out.

This video is for you Leslie.  I would like to extend an early “You’re Welcome”.

~ karen


How to Open a Bag


How to open a bag that’s closed with string (like a potato sack). It’s easier than you think.

I cannot overstate this Leslie … you’re welcome.


  1. Gabrielle says:

    Can’t believe I came in from the garden for this. How can I learn to be patient when I have no role model? Oh screw it – to thine own nature, be true!

  2. Carey says:

    So funny! Scissors are the. best. tool ever invented. Period.

  3. Denna says:

    Just saw your project in the Lee Valley newsletter. nice :)

    • Karen says:

      Thx Denna! I had no idea it was out. I write an article for them every newsletter. I’m kind of their poster girl. You know. Like a centrefold. Who has a vast array of drill bits. ~ karen!

  4. Joy Dewhirst says:

    As someone who grew up on a ranch in California I have had a lot of experience with these bags for feed, seed, flour, rice, etc. Most of the time they work but when they do not you did the right thing and I am STILL laughing. Great job!

  5. Sandra says:

    So funny!

  6. Sara says:

    Love! Love! Love! Oh the hilarity!

  7. Gayla T says:

    In my need for 20 hours of sleep a day, I have missed many posts. However, I really need this information so I can at least say at the Golden Gate that I was finally able to open these bags and died in peace. NOT! Now, I have to go on living until I learn this lost art. Thanks a lot! I do plan to ask God when first I see him why these first two fingers could not have been designed to work like a scissor so I don’t have to do a search for it every time I want something opened. I’d hate to add up the lost time I’ve spent jerking strings and then looking for a sharp object. Now, back to bed.

  8. ev says:

    HEE HEE HEE HEE HEEE HEE! I so needed a belly laugh! Thank you Karen. And yes, that is indeed how it is done! Hee hee hee…..

  9. Debbie B says:

    perfect video, laughed so hard my eyes are soggy

  10. jodie says:

    Hilarious! You’re stinkin’ hilarious!

  11. sera says:

    hahahahahaha! I get the similar string closure on my cat food and always think “get the scissors” but because I have been faced with this challenge that I feel I need to overcome, I end up trying to get it open from the wrong side, then trying the right side, then not getting it open and finding out that the first side I tried is indeed the right one, and then halfway, I still need the scissors. Thanks Karen!

  12. caryl says:

    I use the same technique–now ASK KAREN. How come your seed doesn’t pour out all over the place?

  13. Jeanne says:

    Yep, that is exactly how it works!!! Especially when you have bags for horses, dogs, cats, chickens and anything else that eats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Was the iPhone Hoo Hoo Hammock/Jock used in the making of this post? An inquiring mind wants to know?

    • Karen says:

      Julia – It was not! I used a makeshift boob strap. I’m going to have to invent something more appropriate that doesn’t rely so much on my lady parts. ~ karen

  15. Gloria says:

    I love you! lol I haven’t laughed this much since the video of your hiccupping (sorry, but it was funny) Thanks! I needed to laugh today.

  16. Leslie says:

    Too funny!! What I really want to know is how to open a bag of potato chips without eating the whole bag? Love to see that video…

  17. Linda says:

    THAT….was a giant “Karen Pill”….HAHAHAHAHAHA

  18. Tricia says:

    Fabulous! Glad to see that others revert to vulgarity as a means of enticing the package to open. It doesn’t typically work for me either but a girl’s gotta try.

  19. Sharon says:

    Well it’s clear to me that you love to open things in October! it was October last year that you showed us all “How to Properly Open a Package of Spaghetti”

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