Ramblings on my brain and eventually thoughts on a 000-999 system

After the holiday insanity of New Year’s, I’ve gotten back into thinking a bit about memory systems and such. A lot of this is just a brain dump of things I might get into.

First, I was thinking of starting an actual memory palace in real life, based on a real physical place and not something in my head. I decided to go with the apartment I moved into, which is rather bare. Three large rooms excluding a few closets, a garage, and that’s pretty much it. Two of the rooms aren’t even rectangularly shaped, which does make the four walls, four corners method for assigning loci rather challenging. I may have to base mine off of the limited physical stuff I do have, like a kitchen countertop, a bed, a toilet, etc. It’s a small apartment, but it’s comfortable. It’s not ideal for memory palaces, though. I may have to get rather creative, trying to get 20 or 30 spots in. I was thinking of assigning spots in my apartment to the 33 Russian letters so I could memorize Russian vocabulary. (I find that often recalling the first letter jogs my memory enough to recall the entire word. Verb conjugations and noun declensions are really a non-issue at this point.)

In this regard (and because my spatial memory is not the best unless it comes to technical diagrams and drawings), I may have better luck tying spots to larger things I have memorized, such as my 00-99 system, like imagine 1 as a tie wrapped around the first object, 2 as some wine being spilled onto the second object, etc. I do have more imaginary memory palaces tied to diagrams, like angles in a circle or a large-scale map of countries, etc. I seem to remember these better than I do physical places in real life. It’s like my mind refuses to think in a real-life 3D environment unless I’m in the area or I’ve been to it enough times (and even then it’s a bit hazy, relying more on muscle memory than visual cues). Memory palaces and physical locations seem to elude me at present. It’s like my brain has declared different reference points for memorizing longer information.

Historical memorization has both fascinated and eluded me. Everything before 1500 runs into a blur, and I see the 20th century most clearly. I might have trouble recalling if something is in the 1700s or 1800s, but I can see the general idea. How people memorize such lists is beyond me. I’d probably think of a color for each century and have that as the base, and then use my 00-99 list and tie it to the thing. America declared independence in 1776 - a violet (7th color of the rainbow, to recall the 7 in 17) wad of cash (76) that reads “USA IS FREE” or something. Columbus in 1492 - a green (4, so 14) bone (92) is the mast on Columbus’s boats or something. Honestly, history wasn’t my best subject in school. I did these through pure rote memorization.

I have considered having a better system of encoding 000-999 as I have had situations where that would be useful. If I needed to encode something like 362 on the fly, I use an adjective and then the main number 362 is “my chain” for example. I would like to make a larger system where 362 is encoded as its own thing instead of being derived from 3 + 62, so I might encode it as “mission” for example and think of a spacecraft mission. I don’t know yet. I do have some. 340 encodes Mars, 420 encodes Uranus. I’m not sure if I should be strict or cut off. As much as I’d like 291 to encode Neptune, my first instinct is to decode it as 2912, which I’d naturally recode as “nib dino”, like a dino whose obsession is eating those expensive pen nibs. I’ve been thinking that maybe a themed system where I have ten categories that each have 100 images might work, but that would break the established flow of the Major system. Maybe the first consonant might inform an image. If the 100s were animals, and the 170s were dinosaurs, 178 with its F/V for the last digit might encode “velociraptor”, 170 with its S might encode “stegosaurus”, etc. Like the Dewey Decimal system but with things that make sense for my brain. Not sure if anyone has done this before of if this would even be feasible. I don’t know I should just scrap everything and start over with a pure Major system or what.

I still would like a 000-999 system, though. I don’t know how it would be best approached, though.


I have a 0-999 major system. I used 10 memory palaces with 50 locations in each (5 stations per room). When I get to the 500th station, I start back at the 1st station and remember 501 there. Instead of being confusing having two numbers in one station… it was actually very helpful learning 501 to 999 having the locations already and linking the numbers together in the station. There really is no confusion created, you are either looking for a really low number or high number when navigation through the station and it is obvious enough during recall. Took about 2 months to come up with images for all the numbers. Laying in bed I would review the material. On the treadmill at the gym I review it also.
Driving to work, I look at license plates and think of the image that goes with the number. It is doable, one chunk at a time. If you want to see my list… send me an email. [email protected]

Interesting idea. Do you use a system to assign the images, e.g. Major? Or is it more random?

I use the Major System to assign numbers and images. When a number can’t be converted really easily into a word I will do something different. 666 is Vincent Price for me, because he did a lot of scary movies (The devil’s #). 888 is and 8 ball from a pool table. 16 is ET from the movie, because Dish wasn’t working for me, the 6 looks like an upside down ET to me, 9 being the head of ET

Interesting, thanks.