How to Start a Bullet Journal – 3 Types

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Have you heard about the bullet journaling trend? There are some people who are crazy addicted to bullet journals. They create works of art with their bullet journals. I love looking at those images, but that’s not my life. I want the benefits of a bullet journal in an easy-to-do format.  Especially when you’re starting to bullet journal, it’s best to start simple. There’s really no reason to be intimidated by bullet journaling. Let’s talk about how to start a bullet journal and specifically 3 kids of bullet journals.

open journal with yellow highlighter and black and yellow text written in journal with title text overlay reading How to Bullet Journal 3 Easy Tips

I’ve been bullet journaling since well before it became a thing. I was using a bullet journal back when it was just called a calendar and To Do List. I’m a busy mom and while I appreciate the beauty of those super fancy bullet journals, I prefer a simpler, functional bullet journal, also known as a minimalist bullet journal. This simpler format is a great way to learn how to start bullet journaling. Once you get the hang of it, you can always go for fancy and artistic.

How to Start a Bullet Journal – 3 Types

What is a bullet journal?

Before you start your first bullet journal, you need to decide on the type of journal to use.  Don’t worry about choosing the perfect journal. The journal itself isn’t as important as the bullet journaling process. Try bullet journaling and figure out what works best for you personally. You can always switch to a different type of journal and find the one that’s right for you. Most bullet journalers change the journals they use over time.

A Plain Notebook as a Bullet Journal

The easiest way to get started is with any notebook that you have lying around. Seriously. You can also pick up an inexpensive one at the store (check out my post on how to Start Bullet Journaling for $1). It doesn’t matter if the notebook is ruled, lined or has blank pages. Any type of notebook will work. Really.


  • Easy to find
  • Inexpensive
  • Probably already have one
  • Great for your first bullet journal to see if bullet journaling works for you


  • Tend to fall apart
  • Not as easy to customize
  • You’ll have to number the pages yourself
  • May not be as pretty as ones you see online

A Journal Designed for Bullet Journaling

When you’re ready to upgrade to a journal you’ll enjoy writing in and are proud to display, consider investing in a Moleskin notebook, Scribbles that Matter or Leuchtturm notebook. You’ll end up with a nice sturdy book that you can carry everywhere with you or keep by your desk.


  • Better quality paper
    • Less or no bleeding (when the ink spreads or “bleeds”) 
    • Less or no ghosting (when you can see the image or text on the back of the page)
  • More pages so you can include several months and numerous collections
  • Some journals come with pages already numbered, which is used in bullet journaling
  • Will hold up to extensive daily use


  • More expensive than a discount store notebook
  • Might be intimidating to use due to the higher price
  • Limited in adding pages, pouches, dividers, etc.

A Travel Journal or Midori

A third bullet journal option is a travel journal or Midori notebook. This consists of a leather cover and a series of replaceable insert notebooks held in place by elastic bands.


  • Highly customizable
  • Seemingly endless variety of add-on products
  • Don’t have to number pages and use an index. You can use individual insert notebooks for each different section. 
  • Thin, good quality paper
  • It’s easy to replace only the parts you need to replace
  • Sturdy and will hold up to extensive use and travel
  • Has an exotic, old school look


  • A bit of an investment (more expensive)
  • Because it’s so customizable, it may be daunting for beginning bullet journaling

I rely every day on my bullet journal. It’s the only way I keep my busy life, family of five and my own business running smoothly. Are you ready to get started now that you know how to start a bullet journal? 

More Bullet Journal and To Do List Ideas:

For more simple and powerful productivity tips, hacks and printables, see the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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One Comment

  1. I haven’t tried making a bullet journal yet. I had no idea there were so many different kinds of journals to choose from! Thanks for sharing with us all of the different kinds and where we can find them. I also like that you listed the pros and cons so we can decide which type we prefer before we make a purchase.

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