Should I Reuse Memory Palaces?

Mullen Memory’s Question of the Week: Should I reuse palaces to learn new information?

For short-term information (e.g. day-to-day info), yes. I keep a few palaces on hand and “overwrite” my images again and again when I want to memorize something quickly. This is also what I do for competition. When learning for the long-term, however, I never reuse palaces I’ve already filled (unless I’ve decided I don’t care to remember the original information). I want the information I encode at each locus to permanently remain there for review and retrieval. Overwriting it with more information interferes with my ability to do that because both old and new images will be in the same locus. In my experience, that’s just confusing and unnecessary. This method means I have to keep making new palaces. For tips on brainstorming palaces, check out video #1 here:

I don’t compete, so my methods may not be relevant. I don’t compete because I can’t do memory things fast and don’t handle pressure well - not a good start! I really admire those who can handle it.

I have a major palace which I use for two permanent sets of data (countries and historical events of the 20th century) and also for any temporary sets. All my other palaces tend to be for one set of permanent data only - constantly being added to and made more complex.

The temporary reuse of my major palace is for giving talks. I find that attaching each stage of the talk to the palace with permanent residents works very well. It just gives me more hooks. That palace has 120 locations, but I tend to use only the first 30 or so to memorise talks. Those 30 are so familiar they have so many possible hooks already there, that the temporary information goes into place very easily. But because the countries and 20th Century events are so dominant, the temporary data is lost more quickly than when I was using an empty palace for the temporary stuff.

Not sure if that makes sense - but I know what I mean! :slight_smile:


That’s an interesting perspective, Lynn, thanks for sharing. It’s interesting that you layer new info onto “resident images.” That’s something I haven’t experimented with much personally. It makes sense that info would be forgotten more quickly, but it’s still a useful tool people like myself should consider.