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Choosing Your First Bullet Journal

July 16, 2018

As August is slowly creeping up on us, I realized that it is also my one year BuJoversary. When I first discovered what a bullet journal is, I immediately jumped on the band wagon. I had a slow start and a few up and downs but it was definitely worth starting.

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One of the greatest things about bullet journaling is that all you need to start is a plain notebook and a pen. However, if you happen to be anything like me, that may not be enough for you.


As I already mentioned, I had a slow start. I truly believe it was because of the fact all I had was just a plain notebook I picked up for $5.00 at Walmart. I would watch YouTube videos for hours and scroll through hundreds of pics on Pinterest and Instagram in awe. This lead me to become more dissatisfied with my bujo.

I decided then to take the leap and purchase a new journal. After studying what other bullet journalist used, I discovered that an A5 dotted journal was where it was at. 5 journals later and I finally found the one that works for me.

So how do you find the journal for you? 

Bullet journaling has only been around for a few years and does show to becoming more popular. New brands of bullet journaling are coming out which makes deciding all that much more harder.

Types of journals

Size- Journals comes in a variety of sizes. The most common size for a bullet journal is A5. The size is basically how big the paper is in the journal. A standard notebook is 8inX11. An A5 bullet journal is only 5 1/2inX8. You may choose to go even smaller to an A6 or go bigger depending on what your looking for.

Paper- The paper inside the bullet journal is based on two things. Quality and style. Depending on what type of medium you plan on using, you may want a thicker paper. Watercolor, markers, fancier pens, etc may ghost or even leak through. If that doesn’t bother you, then the quality won’t be an issue.

As far as style, I’m referring to the paper being plain, lined, square grid, or dotted. Almost every bullet journalist I know, including myself, goes with dotted. It is easy to see yet also pretty hidden and it helps for making lines and drawings much easier, especially when you can’t draw.

Color- This is probably the best part about picking out a bullet journal. It’s like picking out what color shoes your going to wear with your outfit of the day. Just a year ago when I first started bullet journaling there weren’t as many colors. Now there is a growing plethora of colors, based on the brand you choose.

Cover- This option is about whether or not you prefer a hard cover or soft cover.  Preferably, I favor the hard cover since I do take my bujo with me but I know some who enjoy the soft covers because of the flexibility. Also, some bullet journals have designs on them. Think about if you want just a plain, flat cover or one with imprints. I tend to go with a plain cover because I like to decorate it.

What brand should you go with?

This is all a matter of opinion. But if your just starting out, the Leuchtturm 1917 is the bullet journal journal. I currently own three of them and I love them. The quality is pretty good and fits my needs. They also come in 18 different colors as well as a few metallic editions.

Moleskin is another brand of bullet journal I have. It was my first “official” bullet journal that I bought. However, I bought it at Target on an impulse because I just HAD to have it so I ended up not happy with it. The only style they had was line or plain. I didn’t want line so I bought the plain. While the journal itself is OK, the paper quality for me isn’t the best. The paper is pretty smooth and almost everything I used to write with on it took way to long to dry and smeared. The paper itself was also more yellowish so any color I used came out off and unattractive.

Now for my ABSOLUTE favorite. Scribbles That Matter. I believe this journal really has shined through in the bullet journal world. There are two versions you can get. Iconic or Pro. Pro just means the cover is flat and solid while iconic is has little doodles imprinted into it. Iconic comes in 6 colors and the Pro has 7 so not the biggest variety of color choices. The cover of this particular journal isn’t the Leuchtturm. The Leuchtturm has a smooth cover where as the Scribbles That Matter has a hard, leathery feel to it, which I love. But what really sold me on the Scribbles That Matter bullet journal is the quality of the paper. It is AMAZING! The paper is definitely a bit thicker than the other journals I have which leads to less ghosting and leakage.

More brand of bullet journals are coming. Some are more “higher end” while others are more “generic”. It really is all a matter of personal choice which brand of bullet journal you prefer to go with. If you are new to getting your first bullet journal, hopefully this little guide helps. Whatever you choose, it’s all about how you use your bullet journal to make it work for you.

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