I’ve been Bullet Journaling for about two years now. If you’re not familiar with the practice, it’s a way of keeping a paper planner / journal that is totally customizable because you start with a blank notebook. You can watch the video from the creator of the system here to get a better feel for how it works.
Of course, once you get into Bullet Journaling, you start following a few BuJo accounts on Instagram, pinning a few beautiful examples on Pinterest… And things can generally start to spiral out of control.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve tried lots of different things I’ve seen on the internet and I’ve come to a few conclusions:
- I’m a simple girl, and while I like things neat and tidy, I’m never going to be the artist type drawing gorgeous images to accompany my grocery lists.
- I’m also not much of a sticker or washi tape girl, though I did try. It ended up making me feel like everything was too cluttered. I like a few stickers here and there.
- Future planning in my BuJo beyond a weekly spread is a no-go for me. I rely on my Google calendar for future planning and up-to-the-minute scheduling.
- Quality supplies are key.
If you know me at all, that last one will be of no surprise to you whatsoever. First of all stationary supplies are one of my love languages and quality is another.
But finding the right supplies has been a journey, so I thought I’d share where I’m at now and what I’m using (and loving) for all my fellow Bullet Journalists out there.
Baron Fig Confident II Journal
Knowing I would need a new journal around the first of this year, I did some research to find the perfect one. I’ve used both Moleskine and Leuchtturm1917 notebooks, which tend to be the gold standard for most Bullet Journal enthusiasts, and while they’re fine, they tend to show bleed through.
Bleed through is when you can see ghosting of the text you wrote on one side of the page on the opposite side. And to my little heart that likes things neat and tidy, it’s annoying.
(This is not new, by the way; back in my school days, I only wrote on one side of my notebook paper for the same dang reason.)
I use pretty standard Pilot G2 gel pens, not fancy fountain pens or anything like that, and yet I was still seeing this ghosting. So I started Googling around for options with thicker paper in the dot grid style that I like and which is so popular with Bullet Journalers.
What I found was the Confident II journal from Baron Fig. (P.S. That link will give you a coupon code for $10 off your first order!)
It’s a hardcover notebook (necessary when you carry it around all day as I do) with really nice fine-grain, acid-free paper that is heavier than what you get with either the Moleskine or the Leuchtturm notebooks. I see pretty much ZERO ghosting, which is exactly how I wanted it.
The only downside of these notebooks is that they don’t come in as many cool colors as the other brands; the standard ones come in just two shads of gray book cloth. They do have special editions, which look lovely, but cost a lot more. And they are a non-standard size, so if I want to buy a nice leather cover, I have to buy it from the Baron Fig people — neither of these are dealbreakers for me.
I wanted a way to mark important pages in my BuJo so that I could turn to them quickly and easily. I used these for a while, which I quite liked the look of, but after 6 months to a year of use, paper tabs can end up kind of ratty.
So this year I upgraded and ordered some brass Book Darts.
They’re tiny, triangular, thin pieces of metal that you slip over the edge of a page. The point of the triangle can point to a single line, if you want to mark a particular line in a book (or your notebook) or you can just use them to mark the page from the edge.
I love how slim they are, and yet how easy it is for me to turn back to find an important page.
Tombow Dual Brush Pen Set
I had been seeing some people adding swaths of color to their writing with brush pens, and I wanted to give it a try. I happened to be browsing a Tuesday Morning store, and I found a set of dual brush pens for pretty cheap compared to the ones I was seeing online, so I bought it.
These markers were so heavy on the ink they bled through everything but the thickest construction and watercolor paper. (I gave them to my daughter with the rule that she must always put another piece of paper behind the one she’s coloring to prevent ink getting all over the table, floor, etc.)
So I went on the advice of artists I had Googled and ordered a set of Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers. SO MUCH NICER! These work exceptionally well and don’t bleed through my paper. I really love my greyscale ones and plan to get a colored set soon, too.
(You’ll notice in the photo that if you use them OVER the top of the gel pens, the pen ink has a tendency to smudge. The easy fix is to lay down the color first and then write over it.)
Mochi Sticky Notes
If you’ve never been to the site Mochi Things, and you love stationary and office supplies, prepare to lose an hour or so of your life. This Korean company has the absolute cutest stickies, stickers, pens, pockets and notebooks you can imagine.
I decided to try out a couple of pre-printed sticky notes to save myself from having to draw things over and over. I ended up buying the Basic Monthly Sticky and the Weekly Long Schedule Sticky Note and the list version.
While I like both in theory, in practice they are a little smaller than I would like. I wish they filled up the entire page of my notebook, because otherwise it feels like there’s a lot of dead, unused space around the sticky. I’ve been using the list version to keep my grocery list in the notebook and then take it out to go to the store, which I like a lot, and I’m sure I’ll keep playing with the others.
Like many things, using a Bullet Journal is a personal experience, but if you’re interested in it, I hope maybe you’ll find some inspiration in the tools and accessories that are working for me right now.