The next step in my housecleaning planning was to separate my house into cleaning zones. I used these rules when determining the zones:
1) I only wanted to have 4 days of zone cleaning, so I separated my house into 4 zones
2) In order to make the cleaning approximately the same amount of time each day (my goal is 30 minutes or less), I separated the zones accordingly. (i.e. The kitchen takes a long time, the guest bedroom and Hannah's room don't. So the kitchen is one zone by itself, and the secondary bedrooms are grouped together.)
3) Proximity is important so you don't have to lug tools across the house all morning. Make the zones in the same basic area.
I have a 1450 square foot home with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, so four zones are very reasonable. If you have a bigger, more complex house, you'd probably need more zones. My zones are as follows:
Zone 1 - Kitchen and Laundry Room
Zone 2 - Main Living Areas (Foyer, Dining Room, Family Room)
Zone 3 - Secondary Bedrooms, Bathroom, and Hallway
Zone 4 - Master Bed and Bath
The next step was to define all of the weekly maintenance items that need to be done in each zone. These are not the deep-cleaning things that really only need to happen once a month (or less!). Here's my example for the kitchen:
Clean counters and sink
Clean the surfaces of the microwave, dishwasher, and refrigerator
Clean coffee pot
Sweep and mop floors
Notice that this list does not include things like cleaning out the refrigerator, organizing the pantry, etc. So, in its entirety, my job in the kitchen should take between 15 and 30 minutes.