How to Migrate to a New Bullet Journal

This step-by-step guide takes all the overwhelm out of Bullet Journal Migration. Don’t be tempted to go back to a clunky planner—I’ll teach you how to set up your next journal with confidence!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Wondering what to do when you run out of space in your Bullet Journal? This is THE BEST step-by-step guide for Bullet Journal migration. She breaks everything down so it's not overwhelming. I kicked my clunky planner to the curb a year ago and when I had to migrate I thought about going back. This post showed me how to migrate my bullet journal the easy way! #bujo #bulletjournaling #bulletjournalmigration

I started bullet journaling almost a year ago now, and I’m still head-over-heels in love with everything about this planner/journal/to-do list system. It makes me SO much more organized and productive, and has become a creative outlet for me too. I honestly can’t imagine going back to a pre-designed planner ever again!

I’m currently on my third journal and every time I start a new notebook, I have dozens of things I want to do differently from my previous journal to the next. I’ll be honest though—migrating to a new journal feels just as overwhelming as starting your first one.

  • Which collections do you “redo” and transfer over? 
  • How do you reference pages in previous journals? 
  • What layouts do you ditch completely, and which ones should you try next?

I’m here to answer all those questions and more!

1. Review Your Current Setup

In your current journal, sketch out a page with three boxes and label them as follows:

  • What Worked
  • What Didn’t
  • Ideas for Next Bujo

This is so you can flip through your journal and look at the layouts you tried. What did you like on your Monthlies? Your Weeklies? What skyrocketed your productivity and what made you feel “meh”? Make a list so you can ditch what you don’t need and set up your new layouts with confidence.

Once that’s finished, fill out your “ideas” box with all sorts of new ideas. Instagram and Pinterest are great places to find inspiration! Start a Pinterest board if you haven’t already {here’s mine!}, and screenshot other ideas on your phone. Think about why you like these ideas and compile them all on this page.

Bullet Journal Migration - The Migration Page

2. Order a New Journal

If you haven’t already, go ahead order a new bullet journal. I like to order one when I have about 20ish pages left in my current journal. The best thing about bullet journaling is you can use ANY notebook. However, I prefer the grid-lined format because it keeps everything neat and tidy!

Here are three options I recommend:

  • Fabriano EcoQua Notebook – If you like a spiral bound notebook and don’t want to spend much money, this is an extremely affordable option. It’s available in dozens of different colors and was my very first journal. So I guess you can say I’m kind of partial to it!
  • Essentials Grid-Lined Notebook – This is the journal I currently use, and I love that it’s in book form with a strap and bookmark. It’s not very expensive either. However, it’s only available in black. This journal lasts me about six months.
  • Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook – You’ve probably seen these journals before as they are quite popular in the bullet journal community. They are pre-numbered and come with a pre-designed index page, which is great for organization. You also get access to more colors, but at a more expensive price.

Related: The Best Bullet Journal Supplies I Can’t Live Without

3. Set Up Your Most Basic Spreads

With your new journal in hand, it’s time to set up your most basic spreads. For me, this is the Index, the Future Log, my Monthly Page and my Weekly Page. Based on your previous review, you’ll want to set these up according to what worked, and what ideas you want to try next.

Related: How to Decide Whether You Need to Bullet Journal Weekly vs. Daily

For instance, my previous Index pages were listed in order with the Months bolded so I could easily find my planning pages. For my current bullet journal though, I’m using a two column spread with planning pages on one side, and collections on the other. We’ll see which version I like better!

Indexing Styles for Bullet Journal Migration

4. Transfer and Create New Pages

You will probably have some pages from your previous journal that you’d like to transfer over to the new one. As you decide which ones make the cut, think about how often you will reference that page. You don’t need to transfer everything—just the pages you go back to week after week.

I know some people find it tedious to do this part, but I actually enjoy this process. I’m able to put a new spin on my previous design, and fix what I didn’t like about the last layout. I also try to put the more important pages {along with any new spreads} in the beginning of my journal.

Even though every page will eventually be indexed, they are much easier to find at the beginning rather than tucked in the middle.

One of my favorite BuJu pages is my Series Tracker! This one comes over during my Bullet Journal Migration.

BONUS TIP: Add sticky tabs to your most used pages so you can quickly flip to that page!

5. Index Your Previous Bujo

Even though I don’t like hanging onto clutter, I do keep all of my bullet journals. They are a record of sorts—things that happened each day and are fun to look through! But they can also be out of sight, out of mind. What do you do when there are pages you *might* reference later?

Here are a couple of ideas:

  • Number your journals {v.1, v.2, and the like} and create a reference page in your new journal {or a master list in Evernote} with the volume number and page number of all collections you don’t want to forget.
  • OR, you can scan those pages into Evernote {I just use the Evernote app}, and tag appropriately. Evernote can read your handwriting, so you’ll always be able to find what you need with a simple search.

I personally have book and podcast notes sprinkled throughout all my journals, so I’ve chosen to scan and file these pages under “Book Notes” in Evernote, and tag with relevant topics.

I save inspiring BuJu layouts from other Bullet Journal creatives in evernote so that I can reference them during my Bullet Journal Migration.

See….not so overwhelming when you break it down by steps, right?? I hope this post helps ease the transition into your new bullet journal. A fresh notebook with crisp white pages is always a reason for us Type-A’s to celebrate!

What number journal are you migrating to?

Disclosure: Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Read my full disclosure policy here.

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  1. Hi Kalyn,
    I am hoping to start a bullet journal soon, but before I do, I have a question. Do you change journals each new year, or just when you run out of pages? If you do it yearly, should I wait to start one in January or start now just to get some practice? Thank you for all your helpful info!

    1. Hi Julia, I change out my journals when I run out of pages. Lately, that has been in less than a years time. But if it works better for you organizationally to change out each year, there’s not problem with that! The key is keeping each journal’s index organized.

  2. Any update on how your new two column index is going? I’m about to migrate into a new bujo next month and am considering trying out your index layout. Thanks!

  3. OK OK. After hearing you rave about them for months…I decided to try my hand at it and bought a 97 cent graph composition notebook at the walmart. I wasn’t ten pages in before I picked up a $7 dot grid journal on Amazon with some paypal money from a book I sold on eBay.

    Within a week (ONE WEEK!) I had drawn and doodled and listed and just plain old fell in love with this free-format style of planning my life. So I used all of my winnings to purchase a real-deal happy yellow leuchtturm 1917!! And when it arrived two days later? Nirvana. My life is changed.

    I’ve been gorging on instagram and pinterest photos of beautiful layouts, and watching youtube videos of how everyone sets theirs up. Today, my four year old son asked me if he could color a red turtle and I nearly danced in happiness that I could work in my bujo in peace but still be with him sharing an activity. Parenting yay!

    Thanks for the encouragement!


  4. I’ve never given Bullet journals a try, mostly because I like the paper planner style planners :). What planner were you using before you made the switch?

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