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Bullet journal supplies for bullet journal beginners

Bullet journal supplies can be overwhelming. Pretty – but a lot to wade through. If you’re a beginner to the bullet journal like I still am, you need a guide to keep things focused.

Otherwise, you could fall down an Amazon-Etsy-Pinterest rabbit hole and never come back.

Bullet Journal Supplies for Beginners

pastel pencils in a coffee cup

Bullet journal pencils aren’t they so pretty?

You’ve probably seen this trend sweeping your Instagram feed. After all, the aesthetic appeal of bullet journals is a perfect match for the curation of Instagram. Pure, minimalist pages are shown organizing life into days, 

weeks, and months; Watercolors bring a splash of color to a habit tracker; perfectly balanced flat lays showcase the bullet journal’s elegant simplicity.

You’re inspired. 

…But where to start?

For newbie journalers, the best place to start is getting the right bullet journal supplies for beginners. 

What is a bullet journal?

The bullet journal is a journaling system that emphasizes short, succinct note-taking and task management on a daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. The “Bujo” has risen in popularity because it is part creativity and part productivity – perfect for driven people that also appreciate aesthetics.

The system originates in the mind of Ryder Carrol. He envisioned a way to track both the future and the past while keeping precise track of the present.

 

bullet journal with highlighter and marker writing

 

The necessary bullet journal supplies start with the actual journal. Any blank journal can become a bullet journal. However, not every blank journal will become a bullet journal. This is because bullet journals require a few key elements. 

Here are some of those elements of a bullet journal:

Bullet journal index

This is the first page that sets the bullet journal apart from its run-of-the-mill cousins. You’ll be keeping track of your pages and where you keep everything, instead of just making lists haphazardly as you go. 

The sky is the limit with how you organize the index. Some people keep it nice and simple by listing the page numbers and contents, while others uplevel by color-coding entries or sorting by category. You can always start basic while you are learning and in your next bullet journal, pull out all the stops. 

Bullet journal future log

Okay, this part is really cool for the folks that set appointments weeks, sometimes months, in advance. If you have appointments or due dates set for the future, you need a way to keep track of them; that much is obvious. But in a design-your-own journal, how do you know which page you will use in six months? 

Bullet journals have a future log page where you can store any future due dates or appointments. You can prep this page for the next three months, six months, or twelve– totally up to you. 

Divvy up the page for the number of months you have decided to include and label by month. 

You can now add appointments and due dates as you make them to your Bullet Journal future log. Make sure to check back to the future log whenever you start your next bullet journal monthly spread.  

Bullet journal spreads – what are they?

A bullet journal spread is a term for the pages within a bullet journal, specifically the view of two pages side by side. Spreads are where you can delineate your monthly, weekly, and daily tasks and reminders, as well as trackers and collections. 

Types of bullet journal spreads

 

Bullet journal monthly spread

Your month, at a glance! You can make this look like a list, or a calendar, depending on your personal preference. The design world is your oyster. You can include just tasks, or add a spot for your monthly goals, too. 

Bullet journal weekly spread

The system that Carrol designed doesn’t include weeklies (just “monthlies” and “dailies”), but many of us like to plan out the week, so we included this here. You can add anything you need to know for the week. 

bullet journal weekly spread example from etsy -fun for your planner

Bullet journal found on Etsy courtesy of FunForYourPlanner

A weekly bullet journal spread is really helpful for your work life when you have projects you need to complete. Or, if you have kids, you may want to track their activities and even Zoom school homework.

Bullet journal daily spread

This is the workhorse of the bullet journal. You can track literally anything you want by the day: appointments, due dates, steps, meals…really anything.

LadyGang podcaster Keltie Knight tracks her Diet Coke intake in her bullet journal. So let your imagination run wild – what do you want to track?

If you like lists, consider vertical “dailies,” but most people start with horizontal daily spreads. 

Other ideas – fitness, mood tracking, and more

screenshot of a bullet journal fitness tracker page

Physical bullet journal vs. digital bullet journal

The bullet journal was created to be an analog method of organization in the digital age. So going digital with your bullet journal doesn’t make a ton of sense in that respect. 

However, with tablets, you can have the memory-boosting effects of handwriting while keeping your bullet journal digitally. You’ll also have a lot more flexibility with the creative process of designing your journal. Check out apps like GoodNotes or Friday

The bullet journal creators have an app called The Companion designed to bridge the gap between the digital world and your analog tracker. The app has a lot of helpful things. It has a system for creating reminders to check your journal and a guide for new journalers to learn best practices. It also has an ingenious 72-hour log where notes you take in the app, away from your bullet journal, fade in 72 hours– meaning there is a time-sensitive reason to return to your physical bullet journal. 

What are the best bullet journal supplies for beginners?

To start, keep it simple. You need a journal and a pen. If you are already artistic and want to dive right in, bring your favorite medium into play, perhaps by adding colorful pens or watercolors. 

Of course, having nice supplies can make the experience more enjoyable (and you more likely to stick with it!), so when you choose your journal and pen, make sure you find one that feels good and you like using. 

What kind of journal is best for bullet journaling?

Any journal can become a bullet journal; however, journals with dot grids are perfect for bullet journalling. 

The following journals come highly recommended:

What kind of bullet journal pen should I get?

I’m sure you learned in school that each person prefers a different type of pen. Some people will only use a specific pen from a particular maker. This is because feel is everything! Choosing which pen to use for your bullet journal is genuinely up to personal preference. 

If you don’t already have a favorite pen, these bullet journal pens come highly recommended:

What about bullet journal stickers?

Let’s face it, we’ve all been yearning for a way to get stickers back in our life since 3rd grade. Bullet journal stickers satisfy the inner Lisa Frank lover inside all of us.

Bullet journal stickers are a great way to add design flair to your journal without actually having to be an artist. Washi tape is a great way to make colorful lines in your journal, and there of plenty of organizational stickers for labeling dates and days of the week. 

Wait, what’s Washi tape?

Washi tape is big for bullet journaling. It’s a masking tape style tape that allows you to create straight lines – kind of like a sticky ruler. Then, you can pull. off the Washi tape without ripping your bullet journal page. There are a ton of Washi type brands and designs online.

Where can I buy bullet journal supplies?

Etsy and Amazon are some of the best places to find bullet journal supplies online. Check out Stickers for Keepers or The Ginger Cat Co. on Etsy and these productivity stickers on Amazon. 

Search by your style, and you’ll be able to find something you like on either Etsy or Amazon. 

Bullet journaling – a trend worth trying

Bullet journals are such a great way to stay organized, keep track of appointments, start and keep new habits and create a record of your life for posterity. 

You don’t need to make it complicated to get the benefits of bullet journaling. Keep it simple at first while you get the hang of it and start the habit. Give it time for this to become second nature. Everyone’s journals will be different, so stay in your lane and do not compare your first bullet journal to a professional artist’s third journal. 

Once you’ve got the basics down, you can branch out and start trying new things. 

Good luck! 

Our only question is, when are you starting your own bullet journal? 

photo of bullet journal mood tracker with highlighter pens Photo of self love bullet journal page ]