Bullet Journaling Essentials—Best Tools For Practical Life Planning

bullet journal essentials

This has been my second most requested blog post. (First is how to use bullet journaling for goals planning and goals mapping).

Here are my favorite tools, starting in order of importance.

For Bullet Journaling Essentials

First, best pens for bullet journaling on tomoe river paper.

bullet journaling essentials pens

Frixion erasable .38 pens

“When I make a mistake, I just want to rip the page out,” I’ve heard from more than one person that is new to bujo, or just a perfectionist. I’m not one of these people (I prefer washi tape to cover mistakes—it looks like random sparkly stripes), but if you are, I recommend Frixion erasable .38 pens. They come in many colors, but black seems to look best in lists, with blue being a nice second choice.

Jetstream UNI .38

Jetstream UNI .38 are, for me, the perfect pairing for the translucent tomoe river paper. Thin but mighty paper needs a thin but mighty pen. And the Jetstream UNI .38 is it. I enjoy thin pens, the thinner the better, because I want to keep my notebook for a long time, so I write small. This is also why I use tomoe river paper only.

Picture: Showing the fine lines of Jetstream UNI .38 pens.

bullet journaling essentials jetstream uni .38

Sticky Notes

Sticky notes are important to me because I track everything in my bullet journal. Gratitude, tasks, goals, memories, habits, appointments. That means grocery lists, too. And because I don’t always get all the groceries that I need on my weekly trip to Costco, I can lift the sticky note off the page and move it to the next week, after checking off the supplies I got.

And yes, when I designed my journal, I even thought of sticky notes.

Look at these amazing ones by Monolike. They fit right in the vertical space on Saturday morning. Isn’t that amazing?

bullet journaling essentials sticky notes

Bullet Journal Covers.

If your journal is softcover, this is essential! (At first it felt like a big add-on expense when I switched from hardcover to softcover journals, but then I realized I was paying for the cover over and over again with a hard-cover, but with a softcover, I could investment in a cover I wanted to use for years).

Here are two that work well.

Moterm’s B6 Stalogy cover.

Catspresso’s collection of B6 covers.

bullet journal essentials catspresso cover

Other Bullet Journal Tools I Love

Maybe not bullet journaling essentials, but for me, almost bullet journaling essentials.


A warm cup of keto coffee is the perfect bullet journaling essential for planning, reflection, memory keeping, or gratitude. This is part of my fifteen-minute morning gratitude habit.


Frixion and Zebra Highlighters

I love highlighting (when I have time), and I like both Frixion highlighters and the popular Zebra midliners. I currently use Zebra because I no longer worry much about erasing, and if I did, it would probably be at the writing, not highlighting, stage.

bullet journaling essentials highlighters


I adore these Aechy markers. Use for headings, use for drawing squares, use in place of a pen. The curvy side is a bit of a learning, um, curve, but even if you never use this side (and how could you not?), the pen side is crisp, bright, fine, and has a very small chisel edge. It’s wonderful. I got these for a gift from my husband. He researched for a long time to get something that I hadn’t heard of and would love. Mission accomplished. (They go beautifully with the stickers below, also a gift from my husband).

bullet journaling essentials aechy


Absolutely for fun, but why not? For years, I thought vellum stickers like these were all paintings on Instagram. And while tomoe river paper is made for watercolor, it’s also made for stickers. Take your pick or like me, paint when you have time and sticker when you don’t.

bullet journaling essentials stickers
bullet journaling essentials stickers

Fountain Pens

Yes, back to pens. Fountain pens are almost an essential for me. When you use a fountain pen, you are doing something that’s been done for hundreds of years, on the most important documents by the best writers. The most amazing books and poetry, not to mention the Declaration of Independence, were all written with a fountain pen. They are addicting, fun, calming, beautiful—a good, mindful habit if I ever saw one. And filling the ink is, believe it or not, much more convenient than overthinking whether or not to throw away a glitchy pen.

But, since the ink tends to smear more and I haven’t yet tried one as fine as .38 Jetstream UNI, I use them currently for headings , lists, or when I’m feeling extra. Less for weekly and daily planning.

The fountain pen above is JINHAO. The ink above and below is aurora borealis by Diamine. The pen can be dipped into the ink to refill.

Also a gift from my husband. I’d say he’s a supportive spouse.

bullet journal essentials fountain ink aurorea borealis

What about you? Have you tried any of these? What did you think? What are your favorite tools and pens? I’d love to know!

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