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Ultra-Streamlined Style for bullet journal

I might have a little time here and there to do creative designs with my journal. But usually I just need it to help manage the day. What's the fastest way to manage a bullet journal? As with many things in life, it depends. Let me offer an overview of the Universal Journal ultra-streamlined style.

The Universal Journal style intends to help you spend as little time as possible setting up and using your bullet journal. It's counter productive to get burned out on a tool that's supposed to help you avoid burning out. This graphic recaps the basics. Check out some other posts on the topic. Bullet Journal Ultra-StreamlinedEfficient workflowDecluttering your JournalStreamlined Color CodingPrintables
Thanks for visiting Universal Journal. Got any minimalist ideas you'd like to share with the rest of us? Please comment here.

Real easy borrowed/lent list for bullet journal

Imagine this: you didn't realize you lost a library book until you tried to check out more. Or maybe you can't find that item you borrowed from a friend, and they want it back. Perhaps you lent something and wonder why you can't find it at home now. It sure would be nice to have a list for all this. Do you know where or even WHAT everything is that you borrowed or lent out?

bullet journal easy borrowed lent list

Set up

Here's a minimalist borrowed/lent list for your bullet journal. It starts with a row at the top of the page for the organizing details: Item name, quantity (Q), borrowed (B), lent (L), Date taken, RETurn date, and Damage (D). Note the spaces (rather than lines) used for borders. No need for lined borders, in my opinion, as that's part of the ultra-streamlined style. But designate the area as you wish.


This layout uses two rows for each item. The first row starts with the name of the item, and on the second row I include the name of the person/organization I'm borrowing from/lending to.

In the Q B L area I list the number of items in question, followed by a tic showing whether I borrowed or lent out the item. I might omit these last two columns and just use a different color for lent items. I'm already using this color technique elsewhere since I use a 3-color pen for my journal.

I record the date the item was taken, and under it I note the type of item. Next, the date the item was returned is noted. If the return date is blank, it hasn't been returned. Simple.

bullet journal easy borrowed lent list


Lastly, I make a quick mark to note of damage. If the item is already damaged when I lend or borrow it, I mark a \. If it's (more) damaged when the item is returned, I put a /.

Why bother with this piece of information? It's particularly helpful if I need to inform the library or other lender that the item I'm borrowing is already damaged, so I'm not liable for that. It's the same when I lend something out: the borrower knows that I know there was already damage, if any. I prefer to avoid any negative boomerang effect in this situation.


This is the minimal information I think is needed to keep track of borrowed/lent items (maybe I don't really need the "type" designation, but you never know). I set up this list in portrait format but if it turns out more detail is needed for this type of exchange it could always be set up landscape instead.

At the start of this post I mentioned losing items. I might use a landscape layout if I decide to include location info in the list. But if I scan through this list occasionally, I should be reminded of all the outstanding items, and thus where I put them. Also, this reflection covers the items I'm lending out, which reminds me to follow up with the borrower if necessary.

I might add an item to my habit tracker for this borrow/lend list. Reviewing it once a week or once a month is a good idea, especially if the library books are due tomorrow and I forgot to mark that deadline anywhere else.

So, to recap:
  • Item name (person name underneath)
  • Quantity
  • Borrowed/Lent
  • Date taken (type of item underneath)
  • Return date
  • Damage
What do you think of this set up to keep track of lending/borrowing items? What have you used instead? Comment here and be sure to subscribe!


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Variant 1: by kerrystudies on tumblr

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Do you have other ideas for a weekly log? Comment here and be sure to subscribe!

DIY Add a paper pocket to your journal

Got a plain old notebook? There are plenty of options out there and you may not find one with all the features you like. But journalers are already familiar with customizing their journals and we tend to like that. Here's a super easy DIY option for a pocket.

Not everyone needs a pocket in their journal. If you want a pocket but don't have one, here is a very simple method using one Legal or A4 size sheet of paper and double-sided tape. (Affiliate links included.)

The Universal Journals are printed by Any print on demand service will be limited compared to a traditional printer. As capable as is (with quick turn around, worldwide availability, lots of product options for customers, and more), there are lots of things journalers might want in their Universal Journal that Lulu just can't do. At least not at this time. But this also makes for ideal customization. Make it your own.

Got any other ideas for adding a pocket to a book? Comment here. Be sure to su…