Cloth & Paper's Guide to Bullet Journaling
Bullet journals are a simple, fun, and flexible way to organize your plans while developing a personalized planning style. The concept was created by Ryder Carrol, who found that he wanted an organizational system for all of his quick jots and coffee-stained reminders. We’ve curated a guide to beginning your own bullet journal with Cloth & Paper!
Grid paper is most ideal for creating spreads, as it provides a guide for page layouts and writing. We recommend our BALANCE BULLET JOURNAL or GRIT AND GRIND NOTEBOOK | DOT GRID | A5 for a dot grid spread. Alternatively, our EXECUTIVE NOTE INSERTS | DOT GRID | 2ND EDITION is a perfect option for loose paper, which can be added to your planner.
The comfortable grip of the ZEBRA SARASA DRY AIRFIT GRIP ROLLERBALL PEN | 0.5 MM or KOKUYO ME GEL PEN make them perfect partners for journaling. The TOMBOW DUAL BRUSH PEN ART MARKERS are a great choice for outlining your spreads, highlighting headers, or adding doodles and inspirational quotes.
Add Stickers & Sticky Notes
When it comes to adding stickers and sticky notes, feel free to mix colors and textures to suit your ideal aesthetic. Great neutral examples for TRANSPARENT PAGE FLAGS that I love to use for bullet journaling include the Beignet and Leche colors.
Our NOTE NEUTRALITY STICKY NOTES include colors that coordinate with the page flags mentioned above, and we also offer the versatile SHAPE STICKY NOTE SET in a range of hues.
I love a neutral palette! The Ash and Linen MINIMAL SHAPE STICKER SET | TRANSPARENT | DOTS are my favorite neutral sticker options, bringing simplicity and softness to my spreads.
The first step for starting a bullet journal is to number every page. This is the integral mechanic of the bullet journal that holds all of your planning together. You may choose whether to number all pages initially or as your journal grows.
Going hand-in-hand with numbering, the next step is creating the index page, or the backbone of a bullet journal. Do not feel pressured to pre-plan your bullet journal here, as it will fill as your journal grows -- just stay chronological. The index is your journal’s table of contents, and allows you to easily locate pages within your bullet journal.
3. Future Log
The first recommended “spread”, or two journal pages side-by-side, is a dated yearly calendar, which doubles as a future log. A future log provides a basic overview of future important dates, deadlines, and goals. A typical future log should look and function the same as a yearly overview.
4. Monthly Spreads
You may feel inclined to immediately outline every month’s spread at once, but an important aspect of bullet journaling is keeping it chronological. So, simply start with the current/upcoming month, and you’ll expand from there naturally. Monthly spreads may be simple, or advanced mechanics may be added, such as to-do lists, goals, memory logs, expenses, and habit trackers.
5. Key Page & Daily Logs
The next portion is where bullet journaling gets its name! First, create a key page, which will translate each bullet point. For example, the symbol for “tasks” may be an open circle. For notes, a triangle. For events, a star, and so forth. Then, create symbols to indicate that a bullet point has been completed, or if it needs to be moved to the following day. Each time a note or task is written, mark it in your daily log and then migrate later as needed. Use our HALF PAGE GRAPH INSERTS for creating key pages.
6. Collection Pages
Collection pages are my favorite part of bullet journaling! This is the “catch-all” of bullet journaling, where you create or add pages for interests such as traveling, habit tracking, mood tracking, a reading log, or anything else that interests you. I recommend starting your collections from the back of the journal so that they may stay grouped together.
7. Have Fun with It
Bullet journals are shaped to what you need -- there is no right or wrong way to style them. Make them as minimalist or artsy as you would like, and don’t be afraid of messing up. Start with the basics and you will naturally start working your way up to incorporating more ideas!
Our inserts are a perfect addition for bullet journals -- just don’t forget to include a page number for them! A majority of our inserts would function best as collections, such as the READING LOG INSERTS, VISION BOARD PLANNER INSERTS, ARCHED HABIT TRACKER PLANNER INSERTS.
We hope this has inspired you to try bullet journaling! Don't forget to tag us on Instagram using #clothandpapertrail -- we just may repost your creations!
Thank you so much for ALL of the helpful tips and suggestions on bullet journaling. This is a method that I was unfamiliar with but definitely curious about. The article has inspired me and I will be ordering some new inserts to add to my planner so that I can start BULLET JOURNALING!!!!