Dealing with Layout Accuracy in Memory Palaces?

Hi Guys,

How do y’all deal with the issue of layout and floor plan accuracy when mapping out a memory palace?

When I first started with the method of loci, I would draw out the floor plan (of very well known places). It would take me a long time, but I think it helped me get started and think more spatially. (Probably it was a desirable difficulty). If possible I would go find photos and street views on the net. This worked great, but it’s too darn slow. Since then I’ve practiced a good deal and have experimented with on-the-fly memory palace creation. It works faster but skips large sections of the memory palace (because I end up not recalling details when going that fast). The on-the-fly method uses-up memory palaces too fast.

By now, I’ve used up the houses that I know the best. What’s left are the places I know less perfectly. For example, my first job was 10+ years ago. There are parts of that building that I remember ultra vividly, but they are interspersed between “vague” elements in my brain. When I sat down to draw it out, I realize I just don’t know. Also, it was an open-plan office with a huge high tech manufacturing facility. It was a secretive startup that’s now out of business so I won’t be able to find photos online. Mentally it feels a lot like when you first visit a city, quickly you recognize different neighborhoods, but it takes a while longer to know how they all connect and how the overall city it laid-out. (It’s like my memory has regressed to this earlier level that lacks a clear overview).

What would you do in my situation? I could:

  1. Spend some time each day to recall different events and try to jig-saw them back into a floor plan that makes logical sense
  2. Break up this office and factory into mini-palaces that only consist of the parts I do recall vividly, then sort of string them together
  3. Other ideas?
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I would just go with what’s in your memory. It doesn’t really matter if your palaces differ from reality.

Often when I create a new palace, I just go through it twice. Then on the next day, I go through it again, and whatever there may be is what I’m going to use. If my memory leaves out some parts that I initially wanted to use, it’s probably better to not have them anyway, since my brain seems to have found them to be too unmemorable. That’s something I especially do for long-term memory palaces. If a specific location isn’t memorable enough to be remembered for 24-hours without difficulty, it certainly won’t be remembered easily for the years I’m going to need it.

Edit: I realized I didn’t really answer your question.

Number 2 would be the way I would do it. Sometimes I add links between palaces by placing an ipad screen that shows the first location of the other palace. It seems to work fine, even though it’s like multiple palaces just linked to each other, not one big palace.


One more piece of detail.

This question is related to my current project to memorize whatever words I don’t know from the most frequent 5k French words. I am doing it alphabetically, on-the-fly, using memory towns: California: masculine nouns, Switzerland: feminine nouns, Toronto: everything else.

I’m at the letter C now, and realized that one big palace is really vague… and now I’m stuck…

Great. Thanks, I’m going to try that. This language project is memorization for only the medium term. Because I’m reading a lot (in French) I imagine that as I continue I won’t need this memory palace because the books themselves will provide the repetition.

This is why, I don’t want to bother spend a really long time to get the palaces perfect (because they are temporary). But you make a good point too that if something is already hard to recall, why associate memories to that hard-to-recall aspect.

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S0 far im lessening the details of my l0cati0ns. My l0gic is im kinda spending m0re eff0rt 0n the l0cati0n than the image im imagining.

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Update: this (#2) is working!

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