Bullet Journals: The Bare Essentials

UPDATE: I’ve moved all of my bullet journaling talk to BulletJournalJoy.com if you want to stop by and obsess with me over there.

A few people recently asked me…I’m thinking about starting bullet journaling, but what are the minimum requirements?

I probably make bullet journals look INSANE with my bag of pens and my customized folio and my washi tape and stickers. But y’all? You don’t need ANY of that.

All you need is a blank journal and a writing utensil.


I don’t suggest you start with a Moleskine as that journal right there is $18 a pop. I did my first month+ with a $5 journal from Target just to A) Make sure I liked it and B) Get the hang of the basic system.

Once you have your journal and your writing utensil? Watch this video.

Then get going! Just use that video as a guideline. Other than the checkboxes and the index, I don’t use hardly any of his recommendations. When I watch the video now I laugh because he would probably HATE MY BULLET JOURNALS. But that’s the nice thing about this system, you can modify as you go. I fill up a Moleskine every 3’ish months so I get a clean slate to apply any new or different methods.

But seriously. That’s all you need to get started. Don’t be intimidated by my obnoxious personalization of the method nor my compulsion to cover EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD WITH SOMETHING PRETTY AND COLORFUL! Your bullet journal can be just as wonderful sans washi tape and zen doodles. I promise you.

(If you want more information, here is my huge bullet journal writeup that gives you way more details than you could possibly want and/or need.)


  • Fraulein N

    Thanks for this. I really have to sit down (when I have a quiet moment) and watch that video. But I think I *do* actually want the stickers and whatnot eventually; for me that’s half the appeal right there.

    For starting out, though, what kind of tabs do you recommend?

  • Leisa

    Love your bullet journaling posts and the calendars. I’m printing mine now to get ready for my 2015 journal. I started mine in April and totally LOVE it! For those just starting out – you just have to dive in. It won’t take you long to figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. What I love the most is that is it so flexible.