Are memory palaces useful for real life necessities other then memorizing things?

I’ve been reading on memory palaces a bit and it seems like a really useful trick, one that helped many people. But, I am wondering about how it could help with remembering stuff happening daily in our lives.
A few examples:

  1. Stories told by our friends and loved ones, stories we want to remember.
  2. Tasks given to us by others (boss for example), especially if they are multiple and not necessarily understood at first.
  3. Nice and cute things happening right in front of us, that we want to remember.
  4. Articles or books we read, even word by word.

So as you can see, I’m asking if memory palaces can help with things happening in our lives that aren’t memorizing lists or numbers or cards.



Obviously, it’s not numbers or cards stored in a memory palace, but rather images that let you recall those numbers or cards. Thus, you can store whatever you can form an image of and recall it afterwards.

The most obvious thing would be a speech/presentation you are giving and you put reminders of each topic into your palace.

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Lets think about example 2. What if you are given very, very specific instructions, and you must not deviate from them even the slightest? Can you really imagine all of them? Do you imagine something very general and not specific, perhaps? And how do you do it?

I’m asking how you do it because like I said, it’s not memorizing lists. If for example you want to memorize a shopping list and need to buy Bananas, you can just imagine huge funny looking bananas or something. But how do you imagine instructions?


I’m sure if you can provide a specific example, then somewhere here can show you how…

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For example, I memorized several poems, word for word (verbatim).

How did I do this?

  1. Read that instruction/ poem / book page
  2. Imagine as clearly as possible all the scenarios that happen or things that you need to do (instructions).
  3. Place this information in your memory palace as follows:
    “Do you know the land where the cannons bloom?” -> I imagine myself in a room full of cannons that grow out of the earth like a plant and shoot at land with villages.
  4. Repeat it

This is my routine and I have been training this for a long period of time. This allows me to quickly learn pages (semi-verbatim to verbatim) of a book.

You can also watch this video:

Hope that helps you.

Yours Sincerely


If I may recommend to read books by Lynne Kelly “The memory code” and “Memory craft” - if these books will not explain how to build memory palaces in your desired areas of knowledge - nothing else will… Please note that you must “revisit” your memory journeys regularly. Simply creating memory to put in memory palace once and failing to practice regular reviews will never work - your memories will fade away.


Memorizing poems is very impressive, but another point in my question is also how to use (and if it’s even possible) a memory palace “on the go”.

You had the luxury of time when memorizing these poems. Let’s go to example 1 in my original post. If a friend tells you a story, you can’t pause time, think about how to transform the part of the story you’re being told to an image and the continue time and let your friend continue the story. The process of using the memory palace has to be done while you’re hearing the story - so you need to focus on both the memory palace and hearing the rest of the story.

Is that feasible?

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Thank you very much, I’ll make sure to check out those books!

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Of course it’s feasible. Look at how many people can memorize a deck of cards in under a minute. That is 1 second per card and the world record is under 15 seconds. You can surely come up with an image that captures the main points of what your friend is telling you… much more time available by comparison.


I would like your attention to the following thread where many people have already written real life useful things they have achieved using art of memory.


Yes, it’s true that you need to focus on storing that information and hearing the story at the same time.
I have a good example for that. If you want to learn to drive you will fail at the beginning to control that car as you wish. After practicing you will get better and better and even better. As a result, you now may drive with one hand, could telephone or speak with a person, eat or shortly look at the mirrors. You are now able, after a lot of practice, to multitask this.

And this is how you can learn it:

  1. Hear an audiobook/story that you can pause at your wish
  2. Try to imagine the scenarios
  3. Store them
  4. After that, repeat it

As you get better you can expand the time you are listening and storing the information simultaneously.

Also, you could simply try to imagine all scenarios as quickly and vivid as you can and afterwards, when you are alone, you could review it all in your mind and store them or write them down to store them in your memory palace.

The books that @vplan recommended are pretty good. You should definitely read them.

Hope I could help you and give you a new perspective.


Thanks, that’s really good advice! I’m actually really excited to try that :slight_smile:

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I also have to ask, are there any other techniques for memorizing things like I mentioned in my original post, other than memory palaces? I specified memory palaces because I hear about them a lot in here but if there are more suitable techniques it would be nice to hear about them.
If there are any, I suppose I can find them in the book mentioned by @vplan?

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Many do it, as do I. I went through a lot to get there and I am certainly not thinking of EVerything, but here are my suggestions to get there :

So what is needed to develop ?

  1. words to images:

Getting used to transforming everthing you read in images. Not word per word, but every 2-4 words that you can picture in your mind. Its not as hard as one would think.

You can practice 100% free over at then with any text.

Get confortable with that

  1. making association s placing images to memory palace with main parts of what is read.

Get confortable with that

  1. using audio to do 1 & 2, Children story first, then junior, then adult

  2. using video to do 1 & 2, children story first, then junior, then adult (Ted conferences etc.)

  3. using real-time with friends in a relaxed environnement

  4. using it anytime


While driving, I was listening to a 45 minute lecture I had to report on for work. Originally, I planned to listen while driving, then listen again later and take notes. About five minutes in, I thought about memory palaces, then a new thing to me. I decided to try to chunk the main points while I listened. I knew this would be inhibited by my driving - no closing my eyes to only ‘see’ images - but since I originally planned to listen again, I figured I would lose nothing. I was surprised at how much I retained. Makes me wonder how I would have done in college during lectures if I had this knowledge.
Now I’m much better. I still don’t quite trust myself ‘on the fly’ but I bet I could do a much better job.
On the negative side, after several weeks of party tricks memorizing a list of 20 random words, I decided to do it in a talent show. Unfortunately, I forgot to account for stage fright and bombed miserably! Wish I had been smart enough to turn it into a comedy act abt how the first object (a cookie - it’s been like four years and I still remember) distracted me. Anyway, live and learn.


That’s encouraging, thanks :slight_smile: Seems from what you tell that this is actually quite easy to see images and recall them later.

As for the second part of your story - we all have our embarrassing moments, but I bet you’re the only one remembering that. Does make a good story to tell others or reminisce with your friends, though :slightly_smiling_face: