Specific question Palace reuse

Hi Memory fellows.

I have a question for the more experienced among us.
I have been using pretty much all the structures I know well for memorizing large amounts of information.
My project is to memorize all the chapter contents of the bible.
For that reason I need some really large palaces. Especially for books like Isaiah.
I only have a bunch of really big buildings. So what I did was reusing them.
I put Genesis, Nehemia and John in the same building which worked very well.
But interestingly enough I confuse 2.Chronicles and Numbers (which are in the same palace) a lot of times.
Why is this?

My method of distinguishing between them is:
I tried to color the palaces interior in different colors, but they were not memorable at all.
So I just ended up reusing the palaces as is.

So my main question would be: Can you give me a good and easy to visualize recommendation on how to reuse my palaces effectively? I do not want to mix up chapters along the way.

Thanks for the help


Well, reusing loci is probably always going to be a problem unless the information you’re putting on them is sufficiently different. For example, I can use the same memory palace to memorize the US Presidents as I use for memorizing the Periodic Table of the Elements, because those are very different types of information, and my brain has no trouble telling them apart. My guess is that the information in Chronicles and Numbers contains a lot of similar types of stories, verses, etc. and your brain is having trouble telling them apart. There have been lots of people who have experimented with using colors, textures, etc to reuse a memory palace, but I think the consensus here is that doesn’t always work well.

I think you either need to just come up with some more memory palaces (using video games, TV shows, movies, etc.) or cram many more loci into each palace by making yourself small, like a mouse. You can take 10 loci in your bathroom and make it 100 by using this method.

Thank you Tracym for your valuable insight.
That is a good thing to know. So I will leave palace reuse aside.
I have been experimenting with Counter-Strike 1.6 (since I used to play it a lot when I was younger). Seems to work well so far :slight_smile:
Other than that I found some good thoughts here on the forum too, about just using routes. I wonder why I have never come up with this before myself. Stupid.
There are so many streets I am on every day, so many houses, only from the outside. And the very cool thing is, in a little town for example you can always start at a main crossing and go into 4 directions, that way you will have 4 outside routes. Plus, you can do one on the righthand side of the street and another on the left. So you end up with 8 routes. I think this is a good thing, I will try to get more “palaces” this way :slight_smile:

I am interested in your 10 -> 100 Loci method though. What do you exactly mean by it? Which things do you use as a tiny mouse :wink:


The idea is just to make yourself very small, such that, instead of just having one locus be your sink, you have one locus be your soap dish, and another be your toothbrush holder, and another be the cold water knob, and another be the hot water knob, and another be the actual sink basin, etc. Instead of just having one locus on your bathtub, you have a locus on the back left corner, then another on the soap dish, then another on the front left corner, then another on the showerhead, etc.

Do you see what I mean?

Hi tracym!

May I ask how exactly you interact with these tiny loci?

I am interested because I am constantly on the lookout for “imaginary” approaches for memory palaces, but these usually don’t provide much detail I can interact with. It may be just my inherent lack of imagination – because I see all kinds of memory palaces being successfully used in this forum – but I myself can’t.

Imagine that, for instance, I try to use a revolver as an entire memory palace (I know I am making myself even smaller than in your example, but please bear with me). Now, I want to use as loci the barrel, the cylinder, the hammer, the trigger and the grip. How do you interact with that?

If you imagine yourself tiny small, the barrel will be like a tunnel. So, do you imagine yourself somehow doing loops in the tunnel with a skate board or something? But then, what about the trigger? Do you imagine yourself walking over the trigger and somehow interacting with its (uninteresting) surface or do you imagine a trigger per se, so you kind of detach the trigger from the revolver and use it in some crazy way?

I hope I am making any sense here…

In sum, the main problem I have is that, as we make ourselves smaller, things become featureless. What can you find in the back left corner of a bathtub (using your example)? Moreover, can you really feel any spatial awareness when imagining yourself walking on a revolver’s trigger?

I’ve always thought of using things like letters, geometric forms and simple objects as full memory palaces, but the lack of interesting features to interact with and the “non-spatial” and unrealistic feeling while “walking” those loci are always huge problems. To me, what makes the memory palace method work is 50% the links you create between the image and the locus and 50% the spatial awareness, the feeling of “having being there”.

How to do it with tiny loci?



I don’t interact with loci. I place two images on each locus, and try hard to make the images interact with EACH OTHER, but usually the locus is just sort of “there” as a backdrop, just something to keep the items I’m memorizing in the correct sequence.

Now, that being said, I don’t use really small loci. But some fantastic mental athletes do. One particular story I remember reading about mentioned an athlete putting over 500 loci in his home. And he was great at it. I think if you imagine your vantage point being far enough away from your bathtub, for example, you’ll still be able to discern the back left corner from the front left corner. But really, you’re not going to know whether it works for you until you practice, practice, practice.

But I prefer to just make more memory palaces. Right now, I have about 20 memory palaces, for a total of over 800 loci. So I guess that averages out to about 40 loci per palace. Some, like my present home and my former home, have over 50 loci, while many, like an old apartment I used to live at, my friends/relatives homes, and my workplace, have only 25.

Thanks for the reply!

That really impresses me. May I ask two more questions?

1 - Does it matter if you put just one image in a locus? I mean, do you need that “inter-image” interaction or is it OK if you just place an exaggerated image by itself in the locus?

2 - Can the locus – the backdrop – be very simple and monotonous? Or do you need details in the background, even if you don’t interact with them?

Sometimes, I throw away some ideas I have because I can’t make myself use them successfully, although I think they make sense and have value. When I read experiences like yours, I realise they may be much more doable than I think. And it motivates me to keep trying.

So, thank you.


I am taking a risk of getting my own topic very off topic here :wink:
But I want to reply to your post, since I think I can give you some insight on it.
What he was describing is something you will only be able to do with practice, at least that was the case for me. As your brain develops it will start to work.

My own experience:

One advice: Take notes. Notes about what works for you and what not. I have done that and it is of extreme value.
Sometimes my whole memory process would just be garbled, images would become shaky and I would have a hard time visualizing at all. Through taking notes and thinking about the process and what works for me and what not I have made some immense progress.

Let me explain: When I first started I was not able to do any movement in my palaces. I would just not be able to see it.
I could not exaggerate, make things big…, I could not visualize something memorable outside the ordinary. Very frustrating.

What worked like a charm for me though was:

  • Visualizing familiar itmes. Everytime I would have a hard time visualizing I would tell myself literally: “familiar stuff, familiar stuff.” and I would get better at visualizing.
  • Viewing Loci as pictures. / Viewing everything as a picture.
    This worked really really well. As I realized that I could not do any exaggeration I just focused on seeing one picture at a time. So I literally walked through the palace and saw each locus with the memory object in it as if I was taking a picture of it. By “taking a picture” i mean that I look at a loci only once and try to see the locus and the object in there together. With this I jump from locus to locus. Bam, picture, bam, picture, bam picture… One advantage of it is that you can do stuff very fast this way.
    Doing that for a longer period made me very good in it. I could see everything with great detail and in fact sometimes I could not even tell the difference between a real memory and the one I visualized.

But still I could not do anything else like movement.
As time progressed I found that doing the picture thing of the Locus and then doing a close-up picture of the locus worked even better. So what I do now is that I walk by locus after locus with my “taking picture” method, that is to see it as a whole image and then I visualize another picture. A close up of the locus.
And you know what’s interesting now?
My brain will now just automatically come up with texture, lighting and surrounding of the “zoomed in locus”

What do I want to say by that? These are tiny loci I have never seen before. These are not real memories in my head like the others I have mentioned before.
My brain now just automatically comes up with it.
For example in a palace I have only been once I roughly know the layout but now I can just zoom in and have a very vivid locus present. An unreal one I do not know. My brain just came up with it.
The same thing applies to holes in my palaces.
Is there a place I can not remember exactly? No problem- just visualize something from your memory there and the hole is stuffed.

So in your case, don’t overcomplicate things.
Visualizing is a work in progress.
Remember that I said I could not do animations or movements at all in the beginning? I have been practicing for 2 years now and I only now start to being able to do animations. PAO was a pain for me when I started.

Take your time, do what works great. Get better at it in just memorizing stuff with it.
Every brain is different.
Take notes, analyze but don’t overthink things.
Only conclude from things that you have tried for a while. Not stuff that just worked well for a day or two.
Relax. If you are not relaxed it will not work and you get brain-tired.

Overthinking and not being able to let it happen were the 2 barriers for me.
Use what’s works, and as your brain learns how to do other things, try to develop it and see how it goes.
Not every advise here on the forum might work for you.
Not every advise here on the forum might work for you NOW, but maybe in the future.
Your brain is unique. Get to know it and develop what works great. Be amazed when all of a sudden it does things it could not do before :slight_smile:
Be content with setbacks.
Sometimes your whole visualizing process will start to crumble and you are thinking: “why in the world does it not work anymore? Why in the world do my memories not stick…?” Usually this is the case when I am a) stressed b)try to focus too hard, or am not using my personal memories c)am tired d)have not drank enough water or e) am about to enter a breakthrough in my process and am about to get even better. d)sometimes, I do not know the reason.
And I have to be content with it.

So keep trying. Put the energy you have more in practicing than in thinking about the process.

ad 1) no. It is okay to just put one there. Chunking is not necessary. Like I said in the post before it highly depends on what works for you. Lots of people have problems with non-exagerated images. I myself remember real life images without any change best. Just try and see what works for you.

  1. Depends on what you are aiming at with your question.
  • The Locus has to be unique. That is things that look very much alike will make you confuse your stuff.
    So If I take the stairway in the house I live in, I do not use the stairs, do not use the platforms between them, because they look so very much alike. But I use specific doors on the different floors that are unique. The once that look the same I just leave out.
  • If you are just talking about how the locus should look like: I would say “the way it looks”. That is as in real life.
    Sometimes you will see it very clearly sometimes not.
    if your memory object you put there does not stick in your memory that usually means you are using a locus that you don’t remember well. Leave it.
    Use the palaces and loci that you can see with ease. Those will make sure your memories stick.
    No good loci - no luck.

Keep trying is the best thing you can do :slight_smile:
Just try the right things.

Hey Fijordan!

Thanks a lot for your thoughtful response. You were spot-on in noticing a few flaws in my approach to things in general. But they are flaws when untamed; and blessings when I can control them.

Maybe I do overcomplicate things, but most of the time I think it is a good thing. It forces me to go deep into the matter, instead of just using the first thing that works. I try to see the way I do things more like a “scientific inquiry” instead of just a “tell-me-what-works” type of thing. But, again, maybe I am just indulging in self-flattery.

I was absolutely impressed the first time I memorised a shuffled deck of cards, so I am convinced the basic techniques work. But I also think there is still quite a lot of room for improvement, specially with respect to memorising general knowledge. I think the endeavour is hugely stimulating; and something to fill a lifetime of studies, investigations, musings and, of course, remembering. So I try different things and, sometimes, it is hard to distinguish between a total dead-end – an idea that goes totally against human nature and how our brain works – or a sound idea, which is hard at first, and I quit when I shouldn’t. So, I like to understand how other people do things and maybe reassess my thoughts and ideas based on their experiences.

That’s exactly me, I am afraid. I do have the tendency to think a lot about the process. I want things to make sense theoretically first. Then, and only then, I can commit my time to practicing. But, believe me, whenever the hypothesis makes sense and resists my attempts of falsifying it, I dedicate myself to it with all my heart.

That said, I do think you are right and I should practice more. In fact, I have recently begun doing so and the number of insights I gain is quadrupled at least when compared with just armchair thinking. I shall indeed look for the right balance. Thank you for your words.

Oh, but please, don’t think I never practice or take notes of what I am experiencing (by the way, this note-taking is a great advice and, although I am perfectly aware of its importance, I should definitely do more of it). Here is a post where I diligently recorded my practice and thought about it with care. Unfortunately, I eventually stopped playing with cards and began dedicating to other aspects of mnemonics. But I shall return to them in due time.

Thanks again!


That’s exactly me, I am afraid. :wink: - So we are in the same boat in this :smiley: - What I tried to share with you were just my tiny insights about how I work and which barriers I had to overcome to make good progress.
Hope it helped somehow.
I wish you blessings with your endeavors. They are very worth it :slight_smile:

Best wishes to you too!