I memorized the elements using a peg system. It works really well. Also, I am able to re-use my pegs. Doesn’t seem to be a problem.
Here’s how I did it.
Initially, I memorized the elements in order using the Major system pegs.
Here are a few of my Major system pegs:
01 - Suit
02 - Sun
03 - Sumo
19 - Tub
47 - Rocky (Balboa)
48 - Worf (from Star Trek, Next Generation)
98 - Puff the Magic Dragon
99 - Pope
Later, when I was able to recall the elements with the help of the Major system pegs, I turned most of the elements themselves into pegs for the numbers 1-100 and began using them.
Here are a few examples of element-pegs:
01 - Hydrogen - Hydra
02 - Helium - Balloon
03 - Beryllium - Barrel
19 - Potassium - Pot
47 - Silver - Lone Ranger
48 - Cadmium - Golf Caddy
98 - Californium - California Gurls video (Katie Perry)
99 - Einsteinium - Einstein
With a bit of practice I could call out a number by either the Major system peg or by the element peg. Once I mastered that task, I started using these element pegs to remember other lists. This had a double purpose: it gave me an extra set of peg as well as a reason to keep using the element pegs.
Normally, I wouldn’t have the motivation to recall the elements very often. But this way I use the element pegs to memorize other lists. And each time I do so, I reinforce the elements in my mind.
Here is an example of how I might use the element pegs. Suppose I need to remember a 4 digit number. I would use a Major system peg to memorize the first 2 numbers and the element pegs to memorize the last two numbers. So, to remember 1948, I might think of an image involving a Tub (Major system peg for 19) and a Caddy (element-peg for Cadmium: element 48).
FWIW, the element-peg is still associated in my mind with the number-peg, but I can call a number by either one. So if I think of 48 can remember it as the Star Trek character, Worf, which is 48 in the Major system–or I can think of it as Cadmium as they are linked in my mind. And I can easily use either element pegs or major system pegs for other things.
The secret sauce here has to do with remembering things long term. If you memorize something that you want to remember for a long time, but would normally only use that information occasionally, you can turn it into a peg (or other mnemonic device) that you use to memorize other things. As you use them to memorize new items, you reinforce the pegs, and thus the things they stand for.
Hope this helps,