Smart Solutions: Summer bucket list helps you prioritize

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News
Sleeping Bear Point on Lake Michigan in the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore west of the Leelanau County village of Glen Arbor.

When I was a teen, I spent as much time as possible riding my bike during the peak of the season. Today’s goals aim to reach a little further with the trend of making a summer bucket list like my daughter does.  When she shared her entries with me, I was inspired to create some of my own seasonal goals.  

Perhaps the most refreshing part of the concept is that many of her wishes don’t cost a penny, like watching a sunset and watching a sunrise. It’s also impressive to see how many boxes she was able to check after the first few weeks of summer, such as going to the beach and to a bonfire. Even walking the dog and weekly workouts are off to a good start.

Even though her room didn’t make her list, it definitely made mine, so it was a relief to hear that she wants to work on it this summer. Her organizing projects that are already in progress include our shared mission to declutter the drawers in our bedrooms and bathrooms with the sorters we bought at T.J. Maxx.

The nature theme she has in mind means I’ll have to find another spot for the existing art on her walls. A sentimental swivel chair she wants to be removed will have to find a new place, too.

Some of the other tasks she wants to tackle will have me getting back in the kitchen, which will probably prove to be a good learning curve for both of us. Because she wants to cook and bake, we hope to start with some simple recipes and go from there.

On a similar note, entertaining has earned a spot near the top of my summer bucket list, as I haven’t done it in quite some time. I already mentioned my intentions to a friend who always has people at her house. Now I’m committed to do the same later this month, which has me working on my strategy.  

Some of the other entries on my daughter’s list might create an opportunity for us to spend more time together going thrift shopping and seeing a live fireworks show. Though I might skip the water balloon fight she wants to have, I can still appreciate the sentiment behind the suggestion.

A few more ideas from my daughter that I’d also like to do include creating a summer playlist. For mine, I’d like to feature some of my favorite music like the original songs and cover tunes I’ve heard at outdoor concerts. Having a picnic also sounds like a winner to me and these two goals would be good together.

Overall, the summer bucket lists that have become so popular for teens can work just as well for adults. Given the fact that they come with a seasonal deadline means many of the goals have a slim window like spending more time outdoors or planting a garden. At the very least, your list can serve as a reminder to savor the season and all the beauty it has to offer.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at