How do you organize your memory palace: more loci in each palace, or more space between loci?

Is it more efficient and easier to remember a memory palace that is normal size (i.e., the house you grew up in) and filling it up with as many loci as possible, or is it better to have a larger memory palace and more space between loci?

In the first case, you would have to find a way to shrink image-movies in their loci, and have little distance between loci. This would allow for less new memory palaces since you are maximizing each memory palace.

In the second case, you would have to come up with more memory palaces and would potentially have less space in those to store loci.

I’ve experimented with the shrinking image one, and it seems to be more effort than something that’s larger.

What is your preferred method and why? What are the tradeoffs of both you’ve experienced?

Also is it more memorable to have objects interacting with loci, the loci simply as a reference point?

As for me, I started out putting as many many many pieces of info per loci, but as I realized I had infinite amounts of loci, I started to realize that its both easier and more efficient to put less and less info per palace or journey or loci.

This helps me greatly in two significant ways :

  1. more space = easier to add info to existing info in the future.

  2. faster to place my images in my loci, much faster because I dont think about the finding the next locus.
    And there are more hooks around each locus to play with any given info linked to it.

example : an apartment has 2 bedrooms 1 bathroom 1 kitchen 1 dining room
In my dining room alone, I could spend a long long time going through every little possible locus, and I have… And I havent even started transforming my images and linking each to its own locus, some of which are not as good to link to as others, not as strong a markers.

I immediately start placing what I want to remember wherever. I usually go clockwise but often cheat and it doesnt cause problems anymore because I do enough of retrieving ; and once I start walking through it in my mind, I cant help but see the crazy smelly half-shaved green poodle on my stove :crazy_face:

So that is what I exclusively do now, just jump from a very clear locus to locus : window to door to lamp to sink to oven to door of bedroom to bed… without any planning. And with every retrieval I tweek it a bit, depending on what works better and what isnt working so good.

Basically, start as light and simple and intuitive as possible.

Sometimes I get stuck, I just go a little farther or link to an empty loci

Importance being, for me, to just start putting my info right away so I can start retrieving them right away.


I think, in general, one should avoid packing a single location too tight. Taken to its logical conclusion, you would only need one memory chamber. I do have deep structures that are like that. Tree structures where the root is a single object. Trees are very compact and very efficient and the structure itself can encode information but there are dangers. If you lose one connection you can lose a large subtree. You have to traverse the tree to access an item. If you’ve ever played around with folder structures on your computer you find the same, deeply nested directories are hard to maintain. When you have a subject where the connections are natural and strong, a tree can be a good choice but adopting it just for the sake of information density is not a good choice, IMO.


@ericam really appreciate this - I’m about to start strategizing and organizing memory palaces for learning arabic. I think that adding space in palaces for more future words is important. Only tradeoff is that it will require a lot more palaces.

1 Like

Trust me Jason, youll realize fast enough that requiring many more palaces is not a tradeoff, on the contrary.
Lets have 5 minutes of fun here ! :fireworks:

Close your eyes (no, wait, keep reading first hehehe)and imagine you are in your bedroom. On your bed is your uncle dressed strangely as a traffic cop and screaming HAL T to your pillow hes holding tightly in his hands :

uncle = khal

but wait ! no!

your bedroom closet has a hyena drinking a latte, waht a mess, all over your clothes ( family in arabic sounds like that = eayilata‬ === HYE + LATTE)

your drawer chest is all wet and out of one of the drawer out comes the Lochness monster all slimy ! sounds like ‘the sister’ : alakht‬ (you do not need again to add your sister, you will remember since youre in the family theme, trust me, trust yourself)

on your lamp is hanging your father, woo strange ! the father : alab . Perhaps had a lab coat on him !

remember you are revisiting these immediately with audio and are not searching for a verbatim mnemonic for it is not necessary.

OH NO!!! I m in need of another palace, this one is full :

wait. I just went to this new coffeeshop, where was the bathroom, where was the cashier, where was my seat, bingo ! a new palace.

wait, maybe I rather go to Christina s apartment, we had a good time last saturday, oh, wait … Ive filled it up already…

mm. maybe just think of the first place this place where IM at now makes me think of (hahaha mind explosion not):::: my bed make me think of what place? well, my parents got a pretty sick bed, i wish I had such a comfy bed, lets jump there and start making that place a palace, ok, all filled up. Makes me think of my local furniture shop Ikea also… I know it good enough to place a dozen loci in there…

my uncle s house ? wait… my ‘khal’ s house, great !

hyena mmmmmm last time Ive been at the zoo… nope., not a familiar anymore, but my old childhood tv room where I watched Lion King first, lets go back in time !!!

I hope you feel reassured with my examples that you dont need to worry about not having enough memory palaces to fill. Remember also, everyday you discover a new place which is a potential palace.

Cheers ! and …

arak qrybaan‬ ! (saddam hussein wearing Pirates of Caribean costume ! ) == see you soon !


I think you need the right amount of loci per room, at the right amount of space. Kind of a cop-out answer, but I think it’s true – it’s highly dependent on the context of your palace. A kitchen or a bedroom can have many different loci because there are so many unique “contexts” within these rooms. In the kitchen alone, for instance, you have a toaster, oven, refrigerator, sink, snack drawer, etc (scale with income lol). In contrast, if you were to have as your memory palace a path in the park, you’re going to have difficulty attaching the loci to as many unique contexts. You’ll have fewer loci-per-square-foot. Maybe you have a certain tree, certain rock, or certain bench which make sense to put a loci, but these will be far more spread out than a kitchen. (Of course, you can get around this by “making up” new imaginary furnishings and objects in your park).

The optimal amount is the amount that feels right. A coffee shop with many chairs and tables will have many more hooks for loci than a baseball field. I would say in terms of efficiency, rooms with a lot of furnishings are where it’s at. Spend a day at the mall and you can leave with 500 new loci. Spend a day hiking and you can leave with maybe 50 or 100.

1 Like

For the most part I absolutely agree with you. I’d just add a caveat: If your coffee shop has 20 sets of tables and chairs, you’re not likely to get 20-100 loci out of that arrangement because they are all virtually identical. Unless you’re able to come up with an engaging story that somehow leads you from one table to the next, you’re not going to be able to tell them apart.



I find parks and outside places much easier for layering complex data on top of the palace. For example, for countries of the world, a larger space allows for a lot more data to be added - capitals, geography, history. A tree in a park has so much texture, so many branches … compared with a toaster or location in a house. I use both, but now tend to always go outside. The more spaced they are, the better for walking and doing revision without slowing down the exercise! Once you have the palace in place, you will find a huge number of smaller locations within a space in a park. There are the edges of the path, views, and so many more things become available as you look.

For my history palace, I am so glad that I spread it out. I set up the dates on the corners of the blocks and then add locations as needed - time is continuous, not discrete locations. I have no trouble finding things.

For temporary palaces for competition, the inside locations work well. But I don’t want to layer them with ever increasing amounts of data. I do it because I started my countries palace inside, but I need to use stories more than I do on the outside palaces.

I have a coffee shop in one palace - but I use the tables as a single location, then the counter, coffee making bit, wall of posters and door as the rest. I only have five locations in it.

I agree totally: “The optimal amount is the amount that feels right.”


I would never think to use the branches of a tree! That’s great. I think it must be related to what we find interesting and engaging. I’m into architecture and design so those would be most interesting to me, but a nature-lover must find natural objects to be the most interesting hooks.