I am a Bullet Journal Minimalist: A Manifesto

I am a Bullet Journal Minimalist: A Manifesto

bujominimalI have been immersed in bullet journaling (BuJo) for a little over a month now and while my obsession hasn’t waned, I have gotten a pretty clear idea of how I want to treat my journal.  In the middle of this, I did get Katie (my sister) her own supply of bullet journaling stuff.  Katie is not a minimalist, but I knew that long before I even knew what bullet journaling was.  My sister is a beautiful calligrapher and I am hoping her journal gives her some space to do that.

I am a minimalist though.  I strict minimalist at that.  I don’t decorate beyond a little washi tape (mostly to tape things down or edge pages) and what decoration stickers have.  Even with stickers, I use them if they have function more than design.

I have joined a bunch of BuJo groups on Facebook.  They have been so fantastic to give me ideas, but about 50% of the posts are all about people obsessing about the decoration, obsessing about messing up, paralyzed by pressure to make their journal pretty (pressure on themselves, nobody in any group seems to judge any journal, which is so awesome), and giving up on perfectly good spreads because there was one small error.

Even on the YouTube videos (also amazingly helpful), hosts try to brush off their errors, but it often results in their only highlighting a mistake.  Then they say something like “it’s OK” and try to move on.  I roll my eyes, because the 60 seconds they spend talking about their mistake makes it clear, it’s not as OK as they want it to be.

Well, you know what.  I love my mistakes.  They make the BuJo better!  They help you!  Embrace them!  This isn’t the last time you are going to design this spread and layout.  You will have another journal and can fix the mistake.  Stop making perfection the ideal!  You are setting yourself up for unnecessary failure.

Let me share some of my past month… Notice, I got a travelers journal with 2 elastics and UNICORNS!  I love it!

I am a Bullet Journal Minimalist: A Manifesto

Even my cover is far more function than design.  I stuck a sticky pad sticker on the cover with a simple date range.  I am just using a ballpoint pen or, for times I don’t have to worry about ink bleeding, a sharpie.  I often just use whatever pen is next to me so you will see both blue and black ink in the journal.


I don’t care about mistakes.  No really, I don’t care!  I make them all the time and don’t bother hiding them.  Mistakes happen, this is life.  Look at this spread about my car.  I have leased my car, so I am limited on milage.  It is important for me to have an idea of what type of milage I am using so I know if I need to stop driving so much or can take a road trip.  I got some math wrong.  Oh well!  Scribbles happened and it works perfectly fine.


I even give up on things when I decide they have a better place.  I have a knitting journal where I organize my projects.  This spread was redundant.  You know what it’s OK?  Because I didn’t spend a ton of time designing it.  The one next to it, the Book Lust Challenge, got moved to the blog journal when I realized I had more I wanted to add.  Sometimes this daily BuJo is just a rough draft for things that will be moved to other journals.


Even my daily spreads are plain old text.  Why? Because it’s productive! I don’t migrate things until I turn a page so I can just keep adding things to do.  It saves time and that is the point of being a minimalist: no decor saves time.  Time I can spend knitting…


Last, my constantly evolving weekly layout.  It keeps getting smaller.  I am not sure I am even going to keep it.  It may not work and you know what, that’s awesome.

What am I approaching things this way? I think more people need to see minimal journals that are a working mess.  I think we need to stop setting up high expectations.  I want people who aren’t great with pen, pencils, and makers to realize they don’t have to be creative in this.  They can be true minimalists!  There doesn’t have to be color, doodles, or even anything more than lines.  You are not obligated to make things pretty, but you do want this to be right for you.

So, I hope I have done that.  I hope I have made it easier for you to make sense of what needs to go into a bullet journal.  Let me know what you think in the comments.  Ask questions, rant, rave, or simply say Hi!


0 thoughts on “I am a Bullet Journal Minimalist: A Manifesto

  1. Thank goodness for someone else whose journal is not a showcase for extraordinary calligraphy and art extraordinaire. Although I love seeing what people are capable of it does make me feel a bit handicapped. I’m quite happy with how my journal works for me, but every now and then I wish I could afford some fancy pens and develop the skills to do elaborate doodles.

    1. I am glad there are others out there who don’t want to worry about doodles and fancy pens. I want to buy them, but I don’t want to use them. For me it is all about functions. Sometimes I don’t even care about straight lines.

  2. Really cool, nice to see some of what you’re doing. I want to try it again for 2017 and maybe simplify it as sometimes when I take on creative projects I complicate things and overwhelm myself.

    1. I think starting simple will make it easier to ease into the more creative spreads. It lets you get into the system without worrying about how it looks. I think you could create some really pretty spreads!

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