What is the WORST thing about bullet journals? 

reference journal

Having to move certain things from journal to journal or digging out an old notebook to find something you don’t need on a daily or weekly basis. 

Instead of keeping those items in your current bullet journal why not create a reference journal?

Wait, what is a reference journal?

A reference journal (sometimes called a collection notebook) is a form of bullet journal but instead of using it to schedule tasks from month/week/day, you use it to hold collections or other trackers that don’t really go in your bullet journal. Or maybe lists you don’t want to keep transferring from one bujo to another.

For example, let’s say you want a place to track documentaries people have recommended but you haven’t had time to watch yet. And you keep adding to the list. More adding than subtracting! You also are tired of moving it every year or six months when you swap out bullet journals. What can you do? Start a reference journal!

Another thing you can put in a reference notebook would be your cleaning schedule. You have daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc tasks you want to track for cleaning but you don’t always remember those quarterly or twice-a-year items. You can list them out in your reference notebook and even add when did I last to help keep track!

You can also use it to track home projects, home improvement plans, budgets for larger home renovations, and more! You can track what colors you painted in different rooms in case you need to run out and buy touch-up paint. You could make a list of furniture or home decor you’d like to look for. 

If you’re like me and want to upgrade your wardrobe, you can use a reference journal to note colors, patterns, and styles you like/prefer. You can then add items that you want to look for. And you could also put in notes, photos, links, etc to style inspiration. You could also make notes of items you already own so as not to buy multiple or too similar items.

Are you a meal planner or maybe you’d like to start? You can use your reference notebook to write out basic meals your family loves. You can do a page of easy, go-to meals and consult it when you do your weekly meal plans and grocery shopping. You can list restaurants you want to try. Keep a list of your pantry staples to compare to when making your grocery list. 

You can keep track of books you want to read. You can also track movies or TV shows you want to watch (and which streaming service they’re on). You can use it to create a bucket list of local attractions you want to check out. You can also write down places you’d like to visit and categorize them as day trips, weekend getaways, or vacations.

And if you use a smaller notebook, you can carry it with you to consult when you are out and about!

If you are trying to stay true to a fashion style, you can pull it out to see if an item fits your aesthetic. You can check it at the grocery store to see what it was that your family really loved the other week. If you are doing a home project, you can compare prices when you stop in at Home Depot or Lowes. 

Do you use a reference or collection notebook? If so, what ideas would you add to the list? What is your favorite thing to track in it?

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Categories: Planning


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.