Tips for Throwing a Halloween Party

Hosting an Epic Halloween Party

Fall weather is already here and finding an excuse to throw an epic party isn’t hard. Beautiful weather and the perfect excuse - Halloween - means a party is all but guaranteed to be a hit. Here are a few tips from Agent Clean to throw a memorable and exciting Halloween Party.

3 Things to do to Throw a Halloween Party

1) Decorate for the Theme

A fun element to bring to any party is a theme for your decorations. While Halloween is a theme, you can be more specific and make it a fun adventure for those who attend. Try decorating and suggesting costumes based on a time period, movie, or style. How about a Hogwarts themed party? Maybe a video game themed party? Or have a medieval, renaissance, fantasy, or other time period theme.  

Even if you don’t want to have an official theme, having some party decorations can provide a nice ambience to the event, especially in the evening times. Consider putting up outdoor string lights around the patio or in the trees, some backyard torches to light the walkway, or led water lighting if you have a fountain or pond. You can also use the classic pumpkin decorations or skulls and headstones to add a spooky vibe to your theme.

2) Clean It Up

Once you decide to throw a party, it’s time to get your home and patio into top shape. 

If you want to make your house shine, have a cleaning service company soft wash your house and deck and pressure wash your patio and sidewalk. Soft washing is a low-pressure cleaning method that removes mold, mildew, and algae from surfaces without the risk of damage from high pressure. Power washing your patio and sidewalk will remove dirt and mold from the surface and make it look bright and clean for your guests.

The prep work is usually what makes or breaks a good party.

3) Get the Food

Let’s be honest, food is a huge part of throwing a party. You don’t want to have too much or too little, and you want to accommodate your guests’ tastes. The first key to getting the food organized is a proper head count. 

If you’re throwing a small party just for close friends and family, start a list of the likely attendees to get an idea of how much food you’ll need. If you’re having a more informal party, social media is a great way to get a quick RSVP from potential guests. Set up your event on Facebook and send invites with a request for RSVP before the date of the party. This gives you time to prepare the food. 

When it comes to the type of food to have, try to offer a variety of options that are easy to grab and carry around. If you’re doing anything bigger than a dinner party, you’ll want to forgo things like casseroles, roasts, and other formal dinner options as most informal backyard parties involve standing and mingling. Try to present a spread of finger foods such as little sausages, cocktail sandwiches, chips, and veggies and dip. Provide paper plates and plastic utensils for easy clean up, and have large receptacles nearby for guests to deposit their trash. 

Throwing a Halloween party can be exciting, fun, and rewarding. It can also be a nightmare with poor prep. The key is to plan the event carefully so that you can let loose and have a great time with friends and family. 

How to Get Ready for Fall

Making a Fall Checklist

The cooler temperatures are already making their way into the Midwest. Soon the leaves will start changing colors, and as with any season change it’s a good time to do some home maintenance and organization. Here’s our quick list of Fall prep ideas.

5 Things to do to Get Ready for Fall

1) Gutter Cleaning Service

This one is a no-brainer when it comes to prepping for the fall and winter. Clogged gutters can prevent proper draining, allowing standing water to seep into your home and cause wall and ceiling damage. Improper gutter drainage can also lead to overflowing gutters that pour water onto your landscaping as opposed to out the downspouts. 

Companies like Agent Clean can clean out the gutters to remove leaves, debris and silt, and perform a water test on the downspouts to ensure that they are draining properly. We recommend a gutter cleaning service at the beginning of fall and at the beginning of winter.

2) Clean out Chimney

If you’re a homeowner and have a fireplace, the beginning of fall is the best time to check that your chimney is ready for use. Small critters and birds can make nests in chimneys which become a fire hazard. Leaves can also get stuck in the chimney. You can sometimes clean out the top part yourself, but it’s a good idea to have someone inspect it prior to lighting a fire in the fireplace.

3) Furnace check up

With colder temperatures inbound, the change of the season is a good time to check your furnace filter and have your furnace checked over by a professional. They can make sure that the wiring is working, and that the overall condition of your heater is up to par.

4) Pressure Washing Service for Concrete

Fall is the perfect time to have your concrete patio and driveway cleaned and sealed. Did you know that cracks in the concrete are generally caused by water seeping into the pores, then freezing? It is the expansion of the water that causes concrete to crack. By cleaning and sealing the concrete, the pores are filled and water is unable to seep into the surface. 

5) Plan a Fall Party

Fall is a beautiful season, and for most areas the weather is gorgeous. Why not plan a fall get together? Break out the chili pot, have a bonfire, and enjoy the company of friends and family. Fall party activities are fun for the whole family. Pumpkin carving, leaf piles, s'mores, and yard games are great options for entertainment.

Are your Windows Ready for Fall?

With summer winding down and fall and winter just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about getting your home ready for cooler temperatures. While heat loss can occur from bad insulation, through an attic or roof, and other areas, windows are a leading source of heat loss in the winter. It’s a good idea to have them checked out and maintained before going into the cold seasons. Here are a few tips for getting your windows ready for fall.

1) Checking the Window Seals

One of the first steps to ensuring your windows are ready for cooler temps is to check for drafts and air leaks around your windows. Silicon seals can break down over time, so if you feel a draft near a window it may be time to have them sealed and caulked. You can DIY or higher a company to do it for you.

2) Window Cleaning Service

When you’re checking all of your windows anyway, it’s a great time to clean them up before fall. You may not have time or proper weather to do it later, so grab a roll of paper towels or micro fiber rag and some window solution and clean them up. If you don’t have time or have some hard to reach windows, consider hiring a company like Agent Clean to do a window cleaning service on your home or business.

3) Insulating Windows

One of the best ways to reduce heat escaping from windows is to insulate them. Installing multi-pane windows with insulation is the best, but if you do not have high efficiency windows you can follow a few steps to insulate your old windows. 

One common method is to use a plastic film insulation. This insulation creates an air buffer between your interior and your window. Air actually makes a fantastic insulation buffer. These inexpensive window covers are easy to install and work very efficiently. Additionally, you can buy insulating blinds or curtains that provide a level of insulation by being heavy enough to prevent air escaping through the window. 

4) Damaged Windows

During the course of insulating and cleaning your windows, you might discover some moderate to severe damage, either in the silicon lining, the window sill or frame, or the glass itself. If you do discover damaged windows, it might be a good idea to higher a company to replace the entire window and frame if necessary. 

Drafty windows are a major culprit to energy efficiency in the winter. But a little elbow grease and some proper insulation will help you save energy and money over the fall and winter seasons. 

How to Throw a Fourth of July Party

Backyard barbecues and fireworks are a staple at any good Fourth of July party, but what are some other ways to make your Independence Day celebration epic? Here are a few tips to throw the best Fourth of July party in 2021.

Five Tips to Throw the Best Fourth of July Party in 2021

1. Party Decorations

A party without decorations is still fun, but your summer event can really stand out with a few decorations, especially one that already has a theme! The Red White and Blue may seem cliché but it makes decorating an easy task. Grab some themed napkins and plates from your local grocery or partytime store to add some color to the table. Red, white and blue ribbon streamers are inexpensive and easy to hang. Finally, break out a U.S. Flag if you don't already fly one and let it wave proudly o'er the deck!

2. Food for a Party

The heart of a party are the people who attend, but let's be honest, food is a close second! People love to eat, especially at parties, and especially on the Fourth of July. There's something about a cold beer, burgers and brats or BBQ, chips and soda to make a Fourth of July party a time to remember. Great party food keeps the conversation flowing and the happiness of the guests high.

When planning the food, decide how to proceed based on the number of guests you expect. Is it a friends and family gathering with a set time in mind? Or is it a neighborhood gathering with people stopping by at various times? Whatever the situation, there are a few options.

Catering. This is often the best choice for a larger group and if you have the funds to afford it, or if people are pitching in to help. This is also a great option for a family and friends gathering if you don't want to have the mess of cooking. Either way, find a place that can cater your party and will setup on time. Many BBQ restaurants offer catering, and it's an easy way to feed a bunch of hungry party-goers.

Pot luck. This is a great option when you have a larger number of people coming. Have people bring a main or side dish, or a dessert. You can even coordinate a list so that you don't have only side dishes or main dishes. Pot lucks at Fourth of July parties are a great way to ensure everyone gets fed while minimizing personal cost. It's also fun to try a bunch of different foods and dishes!

DIY. If your Fourth of July party will be a smaller gathering with friends and family, or if you enjoy tackling large projects, you can provide the food yourself. Heat up the grill, grab some brats, burgers, and hot dogs, or throw some meat in a smoker. Whatever you decide to do, make a little more than you think you'll need so that your guests can eat their fill throughout the night. It's also a good idea to work out a system if you're grilling for a bunch of people to make sure food gets out in a timely fashion.

3. Soft Wash and Clean Your House

Most Fourth of July parties are outside in the backyard or on the deck or porch. Having a clean, attractive space for your party helps keep the focus on the food, fun, and fireworks. Power wash or soft wash your deck or siding, and consider having your windows and gutters cleaned. Guests will appreciate the tidiness, and you'll get to show off your home. Agent Clean offers a full suite of cleaning services like siding, roof, and deck soft washing, as well as window cleaning, concrete cleaning, and gutter cleaning.

It's also a good idea to clean up and organize the interior of your home, or anywhere guests might be. This usually means the living room, kitchen, and bathrooms. Cleaning up these spaces will keep your guests happy and comfortable while you host an epic Fourth of July party.

4. Beverages

What's a Fourth of July party without some booze? Drinking is a favorite past time of many Americans, and drinking responsibly is a great way to celebrate Independence Day. Plus, if you're keeping to the red, white and blue theme, there are some fun drinks you can serve at your party.

Red, White and Blue Sangria

For recipe, Click here --> Red, White, and Blue Sangria Recipe

Your other mainstays for a Fourth of July party are pretty straightforward - beer, soda, and maybe some punch will round out the beverages and have something for everyone. Lemonade is another good choice if you want something with a bit less sugar than soda, and it's a summertime favorite!

5. Fireworks

The obvious entertainment for a Fourth of July party is fireworks. These fun and colorful explosives are sure to light up the sky and brighten everyone's mood, but be sure to follow safety protocol when setting them off. Nothing kills a party vibe like injuries. As a precaution, follow all instructions on the firework packaging, and have a hose and water source or a fire extinguisher nearby. It's also a good idea to have a first aid kit in case of minor burns. Remember, if there is a major injury, call an ambulance. Also check to ensure that fireworks are legal in your municipality, or that you are far enough outside of city limits.

Throwing a party can be a fun time for everyone. The most important thing is to be safe with fireworks and enjoy the time spent with friends and family.

Five Tips to Increase Curb Appeal

With spring in full swing, houses going on market, and apartment complexes looking for renters, curb appeal is more important than ever. Having a clean, well-kept exterior helps potential tenants make a value-judgement on the space. Here are five tips to increase curb appeal.

1) Landscaping

One of the best ways to increase curb appeal is through proper landscaping. A well-maintained lawn and garden is eye catching to those fond of outdoor activities. On the flip side, a poorly maintained garden or lawn is extremely noticeable, and tends to make a building feel more dilapidated.

Quick Fix: Cut the grass and pull pesky weeds from the gardens for a quick fix if you don't have time or resources for a landscaping company.

2) Patios and Driveway

Another way to increase curb appeal is to clean up patios and driveways. If there is outdoor patio furniture, make sure it's relatively clean. Replace or remove any broken furniture. Check for rust spots under metal furniture legs. Most power washing or exterior cleaning companies can restore concrete and perform rust removal services. Also check the concrete for mold and grease; grease is unsightly, and mold can be a slipping hazard as it collects moisture and becomes slick when wet.

Pro Tip: Have the concrete cleaned and sealed. Sealing concrete helps prevent mold growth as well as chips and cracks caused by expanding water and ice during the winter.

3) Deck Restoration

A beautiful deck adds value to any house. Backyard gatherings are popular in spring, summer, and autumn, and having a stunning deck is sure to catch the eye of any potential buyers or tenants. If you're handy, you can do the deck restoration yourself, or hire an exterior cleaning company or painting company to do the work. They will look for loose or rotting boards, and can strip, stain, and seal the deck.

Pro Tip: Sometimes a deck just needs a good wash. Be sure to find a company that can do a soft wash to avoid damaging the wood.

4) Window Cleaning

Clean glass is essential for transforming a gloomy home into a bright and happy place. Dirty glass stands out like a sore thumb, especially on sunny days. Doing a quick spray and wipe on the interior side of the window is an easy DIY, while the exterior may need professional help. Modern window cleaners can use pure water technology and water fed poles to reach up to four stories from the ground, and leave windows sparkling.

Quick Fix: If the house is only one or two stories, you can clean windows yourself. Just be sure to use caution when cleaning windows above the first story and have someone spot you on your ladder.

5) Siding and Roof Wash

One of the best ways to increase curb appeal is having the siding and roof soft washed. Many houses and residential buildings have mold, algae and mildew on the roof and siding. This often looks like greenish brown slime on siding, and black streaks on the roof.

Soft washing uses low pressure and a cleaning solution to gently wash the surface, removing and eliminating mold, mildew, algae, and other organic growths. This helps prolong the life and look of the surface, especially the roof, as algae gathers moisture and heat and leads to a faster deterioration of the shingles. Agent Clean offers house cleaning services at all locations.

Pro Tip: Make sure the company you hire uses soft washing and not traditional power washing, as high pressure water can leave streaks and damage the surface.

4 Tips for Finding Tenants

Finding tenants can be a difficult task, especially in college towns where housing is a competitive market. Here are a few tips to help your property stand out to potential clients.

How to find Good Tenants

1) Take good pictures.

One of the main things to do when attracting potential tenants is to take quality photos of the available spaces. Great photos help maintain the image of clean, home-like spaces, and entice potential tenants to visit. 

Take a clean photo of the exterior front of the house. Take one of the back if there is pertinent amenities such as a porch, patio, or nice view.

Take wide photos of the common areas, such as the kitchen, dining area, and living room. Take photos of the bedrooms. Try to get the whole room, and include photos of closets or master bathrooms. Take photos of bathrooms, and other larger closets. Potential tenants love getting to know a property before they visit, and imagining how they can make it their own space.

2) Advertise your Rental Properties.

Once you’ve taken great photos, it’s time to share them. There are many outlets to advertise, from free listings on some sites to classified ads in newspapers. Make sure your ad clearly outlines the space available: is it a one-bedroom or two? What kind of unit? Is it a house? How many bathrooms? Is there a deck or patio? If it is a house, what style? How many floors? Try to identify specifics that would speak to the tenants you want to attract. It can also be helpful to list the average utility cost for your future tenant to consider.

For example, a single floor ranch home with two to three bedrooms might attract new families or recently married couples. Apartments near campus are likely to attract college students.

3) Offer move in specials

A great way to stand out in the market is to offer move-in incentives, such as lower deposits or discounts on first month rent. While it isn’t necessary, especially if you have a property in a prime location or with top-notch amenities, but it is a good option if your properties are in a saturated market area. 

4) Curb Appeal boost

Curb appeal is just as important for rental properties as it is for businesses and homes. Making a great first impression when potential tenants visit is important. It also helps catch the eye of passersby. 

Soft washing the exterior will take care of mold, mildew, dirt and pollution that may be contaminating the siding. Look for blackish green streaks or blotches, especially on vinyl siding. Mold also tends to grow into concrete such as patios and sidewalks. 

Companies like Agent Clean offer custom cleaning packages to take care of any cleaning needs. Learn more about some of the exterior cleaning services available.

Finding tenants is a process. Following the above tips can help you attract more people to your rental property.

Spring Into Clean

The winter months can feel stale, with so much time being spent indoors and out of the weather. It’s no surprise that our homes can start to feel like they're in a state of disarray. Clutter tends to accumulate around the house, and dirt and debris left over from autumn, then covered by snow becomes more obvious as the snow melts away. One of the best ways to shake off the dust is to do some spring cleaning.

Five Tips to Clean Up for Spring

1) Move and Organize. 

The first thing you should do is any organizing or moving of furniture that you might want to do. Since organizing things can kick up dust, it’s best to start out with this. Vacuum or dust items before putting them away to prevent build up over time. Try rearranging the furniture to change up the feng shui and to give it a fresh look, or replace some of the old furniture and accessories to brighten up the room.

2) Grab a Duster

Next, try focusing on dusting off your furniture, TVs, and bookshelves. Don’t forget those hard-to-reach places that tend to accumulate dust bunnies. Dusting sends particles into the air that settle onto the floor, so we recommend dusting before vacuuming.

3) Vacuum

A good detailed vacuuming can make a huge difference. Vacuum your carpets and floors, and use the extension to  get corners of rooms, baseboards, and underneath couches and tables. Also remember to hit the tops of things like microwaves and refrigerators. 

4) Clean out the closets

Spring is also a great time to clean out your closets, especially ones that may have been neglected over the fall and winter such as outdoor storage or sheds. Organize your garden tools and get ready for planting your spring flowers!

5) Clean up the exterior

While you’re cleaning and organizing the rest of your home, it’s a great opportunity to clean up the exterior as well. Concrete cleaning and power washing, window cleaning, and gutter cleaning are popular cleaning services we offer at Agent Clean. You can also opt to have your siding and roof cleaned if you have mildew and mold growing on your house. 

Did You Know? 

We use our own line of high quality cleaning detergents and soaps. To learn more about our sister company, check out www.agentcleansolutions.com

Christmas Tree Disposal

What to do with your tree after Christmas

With the holidays coming to an end, you might be wondering what to do with your Christmas tree. If you have a synthetic tree it’s a simple matter of removing decorations and putting it back in it’s box or storage, but a live tree needs to be recycled or disposed of properly. Here are a few tips for disposing or recycling your Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree Disposal

It’s a good idea to dispose of your tree before it becomes too dehydrated. Dehydrated trees are a fire hazard the longer they are kept. Many families dispose of their tree just after the first of the year.

To prepare for disposal, remove your ornaments and lights. Have a container or bucket handy for any excess water that may be in the bottom of the tree stand.

You can wrap the tree in plastic or put a tree cover on it to prevent needles from scattering about your home when you carry the tree out. When cleaning up the needles, avoid vacuuming as they can clog or damage it. Instead, use a broom and dustpan.

Recycle Your Christmas Tree

It is becoming more commonplace for neighborhoods to offer a curbside pickup option for your Christmas tree. Contact your local county waste management to see if this service is available in your area. If curbside pickup is an option, consider cutting the tree into three or four sections to help with the disposal process.

There are other options if you have a garden or landscaping. You can have the tree mulched for use around your plants. If you’re in a rural area and have a patch of trees, your Christmas tree can be left as shelter for rabbits and birds. Trees can also be submerged in lakes or ponds to create a refuge and feeding area for fish.

Cleaning up after the holidays is primarily focused on decoration and tree clean up, but the turn of the year is also the time to start thinking about spring cleaning. Agent Clean offers residential house cleaning services such as siding cleaning, roof cleaning, window cleaning, and gutter cleaning. When you dispose or recycle your tree, consider getting on the calendar for spring exterior cleaning.

Top Tips for the New Year

The holiday season is over and a new decade has arrived, and with it a wave of New Year resolutions. The new year is also a great time to focus on organization and cleaning, a proverbial "out with the old, in with the new." Here are a few tips from Agent Clean for making the most out of your New Year resolutions.

Cleaning Tips for 2020

Clean the Closets. Throughout the year, closets are common places for clutter and untouched dirt. A great starting point for your 2020 cleaning and organizing is your closets. Cleaning up and clearing space in your closets also provides potential storage for when you organize other areas of your home.

Pro tip: collect your cleaning supplies such as dusters, disinfectant, dust pan and hand broom in a bucket. Then when you clean the closets, you have all of your supplies at hand and a bucket for dirt or trash.

Dust the Drawers. Another culprit for collecting clutter are cabinets and drawers. They're easy to toss knick knacks into, and over time can fill up with junk or misplaced belongings. Dust also tend to accumulate. Empty the drawers and use a basic cleaner or vacuum to remove dirt and grime. With the drawers empty you can organize items into proper places, as well as dispose of any trash or junk.

Finish the Floors. Vacuuming and carpet cleaning is best done after you've finished cleaning your closets, cabinets, and drawers, as dust tends to become airborne as you clean out other spaces. Vacuum your floors, and clean the edges. You may opt to mop hard floors to remove dirt or grime that has stuck on, as well as disinfect.

Pro tip: Do one more once over with a duster after you vacuum, as dust tends to settle on furniture afterwards.

Schedule Spring Cleaning. The New Year is also a great time to schedule yearly spring cleaning for the exterior of your home. Gutters, concrete, and windows are common areas on the exterior of your home that tend to need a yearly or bi-yearly cleaning. Agent Clean offers custom cleaning service packages with "while we're there" pricing. Find a location near you and call for a free estimate.

Where to Buy a Christmas Tree in Waukesha

Buy a Christmas Tree in Waukesha

Finding the perfect Christmas tree is a beloved family tradition, one that the whole family can enjoy. Spending time together while browsing beautiful trees is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. If you’re in Waukesha, WI, here are some places to go on your quest for a Christmas tree.

Green Acres Christmas Tree Farm

Green Acres is just south east of Waukesha in New Berlin. They have a five-star rating on Google and are open 9:30AM to 4:30PM.

Facebook: Green Acres Nursery

20203 Lawnsdale Rd, New Berlin, WI 53146

Schuett Farms

Schuett Farms is south west of Waukesha and is rated well with 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google. They are open weekdays from 12:30PM until 7PM, on Saturday from 10AM to 7PM and on Sunday from 10AM to 5PM. They also offer beef for sale.

Website: www.schuettfarm.com

GPS: State Highway 83 & Road X, Mukwonago, WI 53149

Cozy Nook Farm

Cozy Nook Farm is due west of Waukesha and offers both trees and wreaths. With a 4.7 out of 5 rating, Cozy Nook Farm is a great option when buying a Christmas tree. Open daily from 9AM to 7:30PM.

Website: www.cozynookfarms.com

S11 W30780 Summit Ave, Waukesha, WI 53188

How to Pick a Christmas Tree

When choosing a live Christmas tree, there are several things to check for before buying:

Getting a real tree for Christmas can help bring in the holiday cheer, but be sure you’re not creating a fire hazard. Keep the tree away from fireplaces and heat sources, and be sure to water it on a regular basis. Also, just like flowers that are kept in a vase, trees will eventually begin to deteriorate. As the tree goes bad, it loses its ability to absorb water, which can lead to a fire hazard. Don’t keep the tree too long after Christmas; many get rid of the tree around the turn of the New Year.

Getting rid of your tree is also the time to start considering Spring cleaning. Agent Clean of Waukesha offers house cleaning service for siding, roofs, gutters, and concrete, and offers free estimates. Get ahead of the schedule and book your spring house cleaning when you throw out your tree.