How to start a Bullet Journal: A Beginner’s Guide

how to start a bullet journal

Welcome to the blog! I’m here to tell you it’s never too late to start a Bullet Journal! This is a guide for beginners on how to start a Bullet Journal, from A to Z. If you’re ready to use this fantastic system to get your life in order, then read on!

A little bit about me: I’ve been Bullet Journaling since March 2017 and I haven’t stopped since. I’m obsessed with this system that has made my life so much more organized.

It also didn’t hurt that I’ve always been a fan of anything stationery-related. I’ve always loved notebooks, pens, stickers, etc. which is why I’m glad I get to use all of these to help me plan out my days.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that when you buy through these links, I get a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

If you’re finally ready to organize your days with a Bullet Journal, this guide will show you all the steps to get started.

***** I just want to say first that I ABSOLUTELY recommend getting and reading the book The Bullet Journal Method by the creator of the Bullet Journal. This book really helps to understand the system and how to use it. You can order it right here! *****

Without further ado, here’s how to start a Bullet Journal for beginners!

Choose the right tools

First things first, you need to choose your journal and other materials that you will need.

I always recommend, when you’re new at the Bullet Journal, to try it out in an old notebook laying around at home to see if you feel like keeping it up.

But when you know it’s the system for you, you need to pick a good journal.

Right away, the most important criteria for me was if it could lay flat on a desk. When you’re Bullet Journaling, you’re often using the entire page, which is why it’s important that your journal can lay flat, so you can easily use up all the paper space.

After that, it’s really up to personal taste: do you prefer ivory or white pages? Thicker but less pages or thinner but more pages? Numbered pages? Medium sized or large? All of these and more are personal preferences.

But here are some of the most popular Bullet Journal notebooks used. You can check them out and see which one would fit your personal style.

Personally, I’ve recently started using an Archer & Olive journal for my 2021 Bullet Journal and I love it! The pages are so white and nothing bleeds through! (Also, I have a promo code MELANIE10 for 10% off your own Archer & Olive journal! Click here to visit the website!) Before that, I was using a Leuchtturm1917 and I really liked it too.

Now that we’ve gone over the best journals for the Bullet Journal, let’s look at the pens!

Black felt tips pens are the most commonly used in the Bullet Journal. After a few years of testing different brands of pens, here are my favorites:

Now, with a journal and some pens, you’re pretty much set for starting your own Bullet Journal. Of course, there are other tools you may need, depending on the style you want to use in your Bullet Journal (colorful, minimalist, etc.).

Here are the other products I use regularly to set up my Bullet Journal:

For a more thorough guide on the best Bullet Journal supplies to get started, check out my post here: The best Bullet Journal supplies to get started.

Now that you have your journal, a black fineliner pen and maybe some extra tools, you’re ready to set up your Bullet Journal!

Setting up your first pages

I want to help you set up your brand-new Bullet Journal from the moment you open it for the first time!

One of the most stressful yet exciting part of the Bullet Journal is setting up the very first pages of it.

Here’s the exact order of pages I set up in MY Bullet Journal for 2020.

  1. Index (included in my Leuchtturm1917)
  2. 2020 Cover page (page 1)
  3. Future Log (pages 2-3)
  4. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 pages (pages 4-5)
  5. 2020 goals (page 6)
  6. Savings Goals (page 7)
  7. Reading Log (pages 8-9)
  8. Books to read (pages 10-11)
future log bullet journal 2020
My Future log for my 2020 Bullet Journal. I kept it pretty minimalist. #3 on my list.

Of course, many of these pages are personal preferences. For example, I like to read a lot, and at the beginning of each year, I challenge myself to reading a certain number of books. I also like to keep track of the books I’ve read throughout the year. This is why pages 8 through 11 are dedicated to books in my Bullet Journal set up.

For a first Bullet Journal, I would suggest doing my numbers 1 to 6 (Index to page 7 in my Bullet Journal) for a good start. Once you’ve used a Bullet Journal for a while, you’ll know which collections work well for you and which don’t. You’ll then know which to include in your set up and which to avoid next time.

The next pages

After those first important pages I mentioned above, that’s when you start setting up your Monthly logs and Daily logs.

I usually do a Monthly log first, then set up my Daily logs in a weekly format. I set up a new week at the end of each week: that way, I can change up my Weekly logs if I want to. By the way, I post my Monthly and Weekly logs almost every time on my Instagram account, so head on over to check them out here!

What other pages can you do in your Bullet Journal? Honestly, anything you want. Your Bullet Journal should fit your needs and you can create collections as you go on.

What’s great about the Bullet Journal is that you can create a collection, such as a list or tracker, and insert it through your planning pages. That way, everything you need is at the same place.

If you want some ideas for collections to create in your Bullet Journal, check out my post 101+ collection ideas for the Bullet Journal!

You can also find more great collection ideas on Pinterest and Instagram!

Final tips

So, we’ve got you the tools you need, we’ve gone through your first pages and you even have some inspiration for your next pages! Now, I wanted to leave you with a few final tips and truths that I think are really important for newbie Bullet Journal users.

  • You don’t need to be artistic to start a Bullet Journal. You’ve probably seen many examples of gorgeous Bullet Journal pages with beautiful flower drawings and such. BUT I’m here to tell you every Bullet Journal is not like this. In fact, the core of the Bullet Journal is to be simple and minimalistic. If you feel like drawing and decorating yours, then do it! But if not, that’s totally fine too!
  • Do a pen test. Learn from my mistakes and always try out new pens on a test page in your Bullet Journal to see how they look. My test page is the last page of my journal, never to be seen!
  • Mistakes happen. Very important to remember! Mistakes happen and that’s okay. Your Bullet Journal doesn’t need to be perfect. It just needs to be functional for you. That’s why White-out was invented.


That’s it for my Beginner’s guide on How to start a Bullet Journal!

I hope with this guide you’re even more ready to start your Bullet Journal. Trust me, you won’t regret switching to this system. I’ve been using it since 2017 and I’ve never looked back or was tempted to buy a regular old agenda.

Be sure to let me know in the comments below if you have any questions, or if you have additional tips!

Until next time!


It's never too late to start a Bullet Journal. If you're ready to start a Bullet Journal, this guide for beginners will help you with everything you need, from supplies to collections to important tips! Set up your new Bullet Journal from A to Z with this guide on How to start a Bullet Journal for beginners.


It's never too late to start a Bullet Journal. If you're ready to start a Bullet Journal, this guide for beginners will help you with everything you need, from supplies to collections to important tips! Set up your new Bullet Journal from A to Z with this guide on How to start a Bullet Journal for beginners.

Check out these posts about the Bullet Journal to get even more inspired!

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