Here is the truth: you don’t need more than a notebook and a pen to keep a bullet journal. You really don’t. However, some tools can still be really useful for making your bullet journal more personal and most importantly, to boost your productivity — the whole goal of keeping a bullet journal in the first place.
When the inside of my bullet journal is just a sea of black text on white paper, I get lost. I’m a visual thinker, which means I process things more quickly if they’re made visual. I color-code so I can see at a glance what area of my life a task or event relates to, and I use colored markers to fill in habit trackers and highlight important information.
Most important of all: the notebook!
You’ve probably already heard all about the Leuchtturm1917 notebooks for bullet journaling, and for good reason. They’re durable, the quality of the paper is great (not too thick, not too thin), there are two bookmarks (three in the official Bullet Journal), there’s a back pocket, and the last 8 pages are perforated in case you need some paper to tear out without ruining your notebook’s spine.
Buying an adhesive pen loop (available in the same colors as all the notebooks) is also not a bad idea, so you’re never without your favorite writing utensil.
I use a Leuchtturm1917 dotted A5 notebook. I’m currently using a yellow one, but I’ve already got a royal blue one lined up for 2019. They come in a lot of beautiful, bright colors and I’ve basically got a 5-year plan for which colors I’m going to get in the next few years…
In my opinion, a dotted notebook really is a must-have when you want to give bullet journaling a proper go. It’s not as in-your-face as a grid, and gives you much more freedom than a lined notebook. You can use the dots to make sure your writing is straight, or to draw trackers to your heart’s content. The internet is full of guides on how you can best divide up the space in your A5 Leuchtturm1917.
I’ve been using fineliner pens since I started journaling in 2011. Back then, I used cheap Hema ones, but when I started my bullet journal in January of this year, I decided to splurge on Micron fineliners. And good thing I did, because cheap fineliners and the Stabilo highlighters do not get along. It was a bloodbath (but in black ink).
I use the 03 pen the most often for regular writing, the 05 for headers and the 02 for smaller text (like in a habit tracker). In these past ten months, I have had to re-buy the 03 pen twice, which isn’t that weird if you consider their daily use, but I’m still looking for a more sustainable option. I certaintly wouldn’t buy a set like this again: I barely use the 005, 01, and 08 pens.
As soon as I have a little money to spend, I’m going to check out the Uni-ball UM-151 Signo Gel Grip (0.38mm). I have a feeling gel pens are more durable than fineliners, and it’s refillable!
Thank you to the amazing bullet journal community for helping me find my perfect pen case! It’s the Lihit Lab Double Pen Case L in Blue.
I was getting a bit tired of having to search around in my pencil cases for the pen I was looking for, and this pen case keeps all your pens nicely organized! It’s honestly one of the best things I am fortunate enough to own. There are also smaller pockets for erasers, pencil sharpeners, post-it notes, and the like.
The Stabilo Boss Pastel highlighters are another purchase I allowed myself when I started my BuJo. I’ve never liked the fluorescent colors of regular highlighters, but these pastel ones make me so happy to use that the blue one is near-empty now — after less than a year! But that’s with frequent use, of course. I also use these highlighters to mark favorite quotes in books I’m reading.
On my wishlist are the Zebra Mildliners. I love the colors they come in (especially the Warm and Cool sets), and they’re more the size of regular markers so I have a feeling they’ll fit into my pen case more comfortably.
These Stabilo Pen 68 markers have been in my possession since high school, and they’re still going strong! I keep a simple rainbow of them in my pen case and use them for filling in my habit tracker and reading tracker. I also use the yellow one (68/24) for circling week numbers and dates, to add a little color accent!
A ruler. I usually prefer to draw my lines freehand, but sometimes a ruler can come in handy.
Post-it notes. I’m sure we all know and love these! I have a little collection of post-its in varying sizes and colors. The sticky tabs are used for tracking the pages I’ve read in a day so I can accurately fill in my monthly reading tracker.
A glue roller. It’s like a correction tape roller, but with glue! The glue roller makes it really easy to glue in pictures and notes, as well as fixing mistakes in your journal. For this purpose, I’ve torn out one of the perforated pages at the back of my notebook. When I’ve made a mistake I can’t deal with, I take the paper from my notebook’s back envelope, cut it to size, and stick it (using the glue roller) over my mistake.
Washi tape. I don’t use this in my journal very often, only every now and then to stick in ticket stubs or Instax pictures. I’m glad I discovered it, though, because it’s a great alternative to see-through plastic tape. Outside of my bullet journal, I like to use them to spice up a wrapped present, to hang up pictures and notes on the fridge door, and to close up any packages I’m sending out.