Old question: long term memory?

While I am still fairly new to mnemonics, I’ve started to collect a few lengthy memory palaces/journeys. I’m still painfully slow encoding, but otherwise the process is going pretty well. I am very excited by the idea that I can remember things that are interesting to me, whether it is just a few useful facts, or a very long list. Most of the things I want to memorize are intended for long term storage. Lifetime storage. I don’t want to spend my life relying entirely on Google and written notes for everything.

Based on Google searches regarding long-term memory and mnemonics, forum posts, and blogs, I am unsure how “long term” my journeys will be. Opinions vary widely.

Someone in a reply to an artofmemory post suggested spending 15 minutes a day reviewing a random selection of your palaces very quickly, like 1 image per second. That doesn’t sound too painful, I find that suggestion to be appealing. Some suggest using Anki, which seems a little odious to me simply because I don’t really want to type out hundreds or thousands of loci, and using Anki would make it all feel like a tedious chore. Others suggest the “use it or lose” it theory. After doing initial (necessary) reviews of your journey, if you stop reviewing, you will eventually forget unless you actually use the memories in real-life applications.

For those of you who have been using memory palaces with mnemonics for years, what have you experienced? Do the memories you want to retain forever stick in your head, or do they fade? I am asking partly because I am seeking advice on retaining long term memories, and partly because I’d just like to know how it has worked out for those who have been doing this for years.


If you review something everyday and you then stop reviewing it for months you are more likely to forget it than if you had reviewed it a few times in the fashion of 1st day 7th day 15th day 30th day.

the numbers are not exactly 1,7,15,30 but the idea of ‘spacing your reviews’ makes it 1, less tedious and 2 even more effective. Hence the anki suggestions, but as long as you know to review, it isn’t an issue to not use anki.

I find that if you do a lot of memorising in a short period your reviewing frequency increases in order to maintain your memory, but still abides spacing.

that is a great advice!
It’s more or less what I’ve been doing for a long time but I have found that there is not a fixed time where it is good to review FOR EVERYTHING. Maybe it’s just me , but for every set of information , so much Changes, when it comes to reviewing.

Keep in mind I only use memory palaces for long-term learning, never for short term or for competition.

So I’ve learned to follow my gut when it comes to reviewing a palace. Well not exactly, I test it a little bit and if it is starting to fade or I feel it is taking longer than before, then I revisit.

so basically, instead of regularly reviewing, I regularly test parts of it . AND, most of the time I instinctively know what is clear enough in the palace without even going there ! or I just know what I already remember without the palace and that often leaves very little left to test.

I stopped using Anki once I got good enough for doing this.

I test myself when I wake up and when I go to bed.

My oldest memory Palace is still fresh and even though I really don’t need it anymore, I am emotionally attached to it and I use it for meditation. It’s for vocabulary and sentences, around 5 years old and 200+ loci

yes that is true for me so I make sure to review or to apply. Applying the info is usually the way I try to go for first, and as early as possible.

your first question is really interesting but I believe the answer would be too long.
But they 'forever stick in my head ’ when I do the work necessary, and of course that is different for everyone and for every different material. It is something that I’ve learned a lot about already but I have accepted that I will always be learning about it because it varies with the material , the technique used, and a lot of personal factors that are not fixed either.

I wish someone had told me that, to my great surprise, the hardest part really isn’t developing the skills to make good images and to use palaces the various ways that can help. No, the hardest part was actually getting into the HABIT of really making it part of my everyday life, resulting in the ability to apply the memorized info out of the palace and into the real world as early as possible and to catch what is fading early enough to not have to start all over again.

But if you can get there, I hope and trust that, like for me today, all of this will never be too hard again.

I’ve found it very important to review everything with spaced repetition. I explained the schedule I personally use for the things I learn for university here:

There are different schedules (you can look them up on the wiki or by searching the forum). I’ve found the one I use to be most effective for me personally. Just keep in mind that this doesn’t have to be the same for everyone, some people might need less reviews, some might need more.