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3 Ways to Begin Your Bullet Journal

Last Updated on November 7, 2019 by Jody Halsted

This is article #3 in the Bullet Journal series. Read the other articles: OneTwo

You’re ready to give bullet journaling a try. Before you begin your bullet journal, you need to decide on the type of journal you want to use. In this post, I’ll give you a quick overview over the three main styles of bullet journals in use. This should make your decision easier. Most importantly just start, get your feet wet and if needed switch to a different type of journal until you find the one that’s right for you.

3 ways to begin your Bullet Journal

Get a Feel For the Process With A Plain Notebook

The easiest way to begin your Bullet Journal is with any notebook that you have lying around. Of course you can also pick up an inexpensive one at the store. If you just want to give this a try, it doesn’t matter if it’s ruled, lined, or has blank pages. Any type of notebook will work.

You can begin your bullet journal with any notebook
Just a few journals I have lying around my house from trade shows. Any of these would work as a beginning Bullet Journal.

The advantage is that it’s easy and inexpensive to find something to play around with. The disadvantage is that inexpensive notebooks tend to fall apart after a lot of use, aren’t very customizable, and you have number the pages yourself. That being said, I recommend this is where you start. Give it a try and see if bullet journaling will work for you. If so, you can move on to one of the other types of notebooks.  (I’m going to admit on skipping this step- when I began I went all in. Because that’s how I roll…)

Upgrade to A Moleskine or Leuchtturm Notebook

When you’re ready to upgrade to a journal you’ll enjoy writing in and are proud to display, consider spending a few dollars on a Moleskine or Leuchtturm notebook. You’ll end up with a nice sturdy book that you can carry around with you or keep by your desk.

In addition to making your bullet journaling a nicer experience, a quality notebook has some added benefits. The paper will be nicer to write on, it usually has quite a few pages, so you may be able to fit an entire year’s worth of notes and journaling in one notebook.

My first BuJo: a Moleskine notebook
My first BuJo is in a Moleskine notebook purchased from Target. I prefer the dot grid to lined or traditional grid.

Because I like to begin when I make a decision, I went to Target and found a Moleskine Classic. I prefer the dot grid as it is less obtrusive than the square grid but still easy to write straight and create layouts. It’s been nice but….

Bullet journaling requires you to use numbered pages in your journal for indexing. There are a few editions available that include numbered pages including the Leuchtturm 1917 journal. (From experience I can say that page numbering is mind-numbing. Also, if pages stick together you’ve got a mess.)

Leuchtturm 1917 for Bullet Journaling
The Leuchtturm 1917 is perfect for Bullet Journaling. So much so that the official BuJO notebook by Ryder Carroll is a Leuchtturm 1917.

The Leuchtturm notebook also has a hard cover which gives the journal a little more protection from everything else that gets tossed in my bag.

Keep Everything Together But Separate With A Travel Journal or Midori

A third option is a travel journal or midori. This consists of a piece of leather used as a cover and a series of replaceable inserts held in place by elastic bands. The big advantage of using a Midori style journal for your bullet journaling is that it’s highly customizable. Instead of using an index and having your collections or lists randomly spread throughout your journal, you can keep a dedicated insert for collections. (Can I just say how much this intrigues me? I think I want to try it… BuJo on organizational overdrive!)


If you’re missing a more traditional calendar layout for your monthly pages, you can slide a small monthly and weekly calendar in your bullet journal with the midori system.

Last but not least, by having the essential parts of your bullet journal (monthly spreads, daily sections, and collections) separated, you can replace only the parts you need to replace. That means when your daily journaling notebook is full, you simply start a new one, and there’s no need to go back and copy over any essential collections in a new journal. You keep your collections until you’re ready to replace it and start a new journal for those.

Recommended Bullet Journal Supplies
The Bullet Journal tools I use & recommend!

What are your thoughts on Bullet Journaling so far? Do you think you might give it a try?

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