I’ve never been a minimalist. I will state that upfront.
I’ve always been a style-over-comfort-and-useability kind of person. I will state that upfront, as well.
However, going on a sticker and washi tape shopping spree and then deciding that I wanted to do a plan with me video with my new finds may have… exacerbated this problem just a teeny tiny little bit.
I grabbed as many witchy and Autumnal things as I could from my stash of supplies, excitedly imagined how pretty it would look once I was done, and… For the most part, shoved little things like “ease of use” and “space for important information” into the corner. In the end, though, I’m happy with what I’ve created! It makes me happy when I look at it instead of stressed because of infinite to-do lists and tasks and such, and really, what more can you ask for?
Autumn feels like a season of slowing down, anyway. It’s nice to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of real life and just make pretty things for the fun of it.
Here’s a quick summary for how to make your gorgeous and mostly useless bullet journal spreads and have fun doing it, for those of you who don’t feel like reading today:
- Aesthetics are your top priority. You want to base an entire page around a cool sticker or ticket stub or other found object? Do it! Nothing is stopping you, other than perhaps your own percieved notion of what “belongs” in a planner or organizer.
- Perfectionism is the enemy of fun. Let your handwriting be sloppy. Let your lines wobble. Doodle a bunch, without the intention of drawing anything perfect or even especially great. Yes, do it in ink. No, don’t sketch first. There’s a special kind of beauty in the spontaneous, imperfect stuff!
- Slow down and remember the little things. Adding a to-do list? Take up the same amount of space with a list of things that make you happy. Adding a list of places you need to go and people you need to talk to? Take up the same amount of space (if not more) with quotes or stickers that make you happy or fit your theme, if you choose to do a theme.
- Add pointless stuff just because you feel like it. This sort of ties in with the first point – It’s okay to add some stuff to your page even if you don’t really get it. If you think it’ll look nice, just go for it!
- Fill every nook and cranny with stuff that makes you happy. Why leave blank space when you can put down another sticker, or add a strip of washi tape, or draw something new? The page will end up a collage of stuff you love, and it’ll be a little ray of happiness when you’re rushing to make sure you haven’t double-booked yourself or forgotten something important.
For the first time ever, I made a page that was mostly for decoration. I wanted to welcome the changing of the seasons right, after all! (That, and I found the cutest Autumn stickers in Michaels. That was the main reason I did this, tbh.) The whole page was built around a pretty and also horribly, horribly fragile Autumn wreath sticker, with some messy little doodles I did of fallen leaves on either side.
There’s something seriously freeing in letting yourself be messy, by the way. I see so many people being super neat and tidy in their planners, and it’s certainly nice in pictures, but that level of perfectionism stresses me out so much. If one line is out of place even slightly, I feel like I’ve ruined the whole thing.
Sometimes you’ve just gotta grab a pen and draw – no pre-sketching, no perfectly straight lines. Just let go. It’s so much more fun that way, I promise.
I tried to give the page a little more purpose by adding some space for notes, and it worked for a little bit – I did manage to squeeze a few to-do’s into the space that I had made smaller than necessary by insisting on a scrapbook paper backdrop. With the other little space, however, I ended up just writing a little list of things I love about Autumn. It may not really serve any purpose outside of giving me a tiny reminder of the good things in life that are often forgotten, but… Honestly, I think that’s just as important as the to-do list, even if it might not seem like it. It’s easy to get caught up in everything that we have to do and forget to slow down and enjoy the little things.
I convinced myself that it was fine to make a primarily-aesthetics page because my other page was certain to be a functional one. Sure, I was still going to cover it in stickers, but I was trying out a new way of planning my month! It was going to be great!
Don’t lie to yourself, Katie-From-the-Past. You and I both knew what was going to happen here.
I mean, sure – Some elements are useful. I wrote out a list of days with space to make note of any major events during the month, and I feel like this is a lot easier to use than my old “draw a calendar and hope you can squeeze everything into the tiny little boxes” method. (I did have to sacrifice my little daily moon phases, but that’s okay. Anything for aesthetics, right?)
See, it’s not totally impossible to use. I even added one of those little mini calendar things!
Okay, confession – I actually have never understood these. What’s the point of drawing a tiny calendar like this? I mean, sure, it’s easy to forget the day of the week sometimes, but I’d sooner sneak a peek at my phone than go back and reference this.
The mini calendars do look pretty, though, and they make me feel like I’m making decent use of my space, so… It’s there now. That’s that. (Maybe I can turn one of those into my moon phase tracker in the future…?)
Another confession: The quotes I add to my pages? They almost always have little to no actual meaning to me. The quote in this month’s spread comes from the Tumblr description of a writer I follow (Her blog can be found here!), and sometimes, I’ll even do the unthinkable… I’ll google “[theme] quotes,” find something that sounds pretty, and write it in cursive letters with a glitter gel pen.
I know, I know. It’s dumb, but I like the look of pretty handwritten things!
Once I had everything down, it was time for stickers, stickers, and more stickers.
I might have a hoarding problem.
I also don’t like to have tons of space left over on my page. Filling it with metallic washi tape and stickers that change depending on the angle you look at them is much more fun! (Yeah, like I said, I’m pretty much as far from being a minimalist as someone can get. I don’t like neat pages and tons of white space, sue me.)
Filling all the space you can on a page with stuff that you love is a great experience, and one that I would absoluely, 100% recommend. Matching stickers and washi tape and putting them down everywhere I can just fills me with this silly, childlike glee, and when I look back at the pages later, I always feel really proud of what I’ve created. Sure, it’s not a masterpiece, but it’s something I created that is full of stuff I like.
Maybe it’s not the best choice when you’re trying to make a monthly plan to take with you everywhere you go, but it will make you smile while you’re trying to figure out what you need to do during the week. The world, in my opinion, has a serious smile shortage. People need to do more things that make them happy and help them de-stress. I think it’d improve things for everyone quite a lot.
(I did add a couple more functional pages after these – a budget tracker and a page to remind me what videos and blog posts I’m making this month – and I didn’t show those because I let them be ugly. There’s something freeing in that too, though! If you really, seriously need a page for something that you’ll be writing in a lot, there’s no reason to stress over making it perfect. Make it in a way that’ll be the easiest for you to use. Do what’s best for you.)
You can watch me set up my bullet journal spread here!
Do you have any other tips for creating planner pages with the primary purpose of pursuing peacefulness? (The alliteration there started off unintentional and then I caught it and just had to run with it, oops. Thank you, thesaurus.com.) Let me know in the comments!