What happens when my memory palace is full?

(Christian) #1

I’ve made my first memory palace, my own house with 50 spots and 20 already occupied. Now I want to memorize a new list of things but the first 20 spots are already occupied! So how do I proceed now? I don’t want to lose the first 20 items and I don’t want to mix them up with other memory items! So does that mean that I need a new memory palace for each new list? Or maybe I have to search new location in the same memory palace? And what about a large list to memorize, let’s say 500 words!
Thanks for helping in advance…



You just find more locations… you can use google maps / street view if you run out of spaces that you visit frequently. This is here is one way to do a long list:



It’s actually easy to make 10 spots per room: each corner and wall (that gives eight), the ceiling for the ninth, and the floor for the tenth. If you have 10 rooms to go through, you already have 100 places.


(Christian) #4

Thanks for the answer. So I really use each memory locus only once? Or is it possible to use the same place for two or more memories? I mean imagine a medical study with a tenth of thousands of memories to store. Or is there a system to create an undefined number of loci?



Some people use different methods for these, like imagining the room in different environments, like on fire, or in water, or frozen in ice, etc. Others use different memory palaces, like 1-100 are in one building and 101-200 are in another building, etc. Many use a route across the city for 1000 or 10000 loci. It’s really up to the individual. Some people reuse routes to remember different information if they find they don’t confuse the two, but others don’t. As a beginner, I’d recommend repeating your memory palace route for different items to see what works for you. As a test, try a grocery list.

I doubt you’ll be needing to memorize an infinite list, so I’d just go up to what is needed if I were you.

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(Christian) #6

Ok, thanks for this recomendations. I will try it out.



That depends on what you mean by memory. If you do a deck of cards and use one location per card you’re gonna need 52 loci. If on the other hand, you use a PAO system and thus place 3 cards per location you’ll only need 17 loci. If you consider the composite image of three cards multiple memories then… sure.

Also, not all information needs a palace forever. Say you want to learn a language and use a palace to drill some vocabulary quickly. After you’ve used said vocabulary a few times in conversation you won’t need the palace anymore and you can reuse the locations.

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(Christian) #8

Thanks for that answer. I’m beginning to understand.


(Andreas) #9

My first memory palace was 26 loci inside my apartment, for memorizing a deck of cards that I use for card magic. I then re-used it and expanded it for pi digits, and they don’t interfere with each other.
I can still recall the two cards or the 9 digits of pi on each of the 26 loci.
I also started with 6 digit images for pi and switched to 9, i.e I changed every image again!
I haven’t had any issues at all, but I’ve heard of “ghosting” images.

Edit: I should mention that the deck of cards was already very well rooted before i started using it for Pi, that probably helps. Otherwise you might get them mixed up.



What about having different characters go through the palace? Like the Incredible Hulk goes through in his way and then Indiana Jones goes through doing Indiana Jones stuff?



What exactly would that accomplish? What do you mean by “go through the palace”? Are your pretending to be this character? Are you watching this character?

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(Andreas) #12

I think he’s talking about a version of the fire technique but instead he’s walking behind fictional characters to tell the difference.

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(Andreas) #13

Whatever works man.
I’m yet to do the fire or water thing so I won’t pass judgment tbh.
You should try it out, I’m curious to see if it works for you. :slight_smile:

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It would multiply the things you could remember by the number of characters you created. You would watch them go through the palace, or follow or be the character, whatever is the most comfortable.

If you had a small palace with 10 locations then you could double it to 20 by having a character go through the same way you did the first time. If you had ten characters then your 10 room palace has 100 memory spots available.

I’m new to this site so forgive my lack of vocabulary on the subject. I have only used this added character technique once last week when I wanted to remember a checklist for something. I ran out of rooms and needed 6 more so I had an alligator go through the first six locations after I did.

Also, the question the OP asked may have changed in my mind as I was reading the other responses.



By that logic I could also place images in English, then another round in Spanish, another in French, German, etc. By the way, I’ve tried that before and that doesn’t work, because the image is the same in all languages.

I can see how the location frozen looks different from that same location on fire, but how does having a “tour guide” make the location, against which you put the image, appear different?

Personally, I see the image at the location… I’m not even sure if I want to call that first person pov, because I don’t imagine myself being there. So try and “be the character” would be really hard.

I’m not sure I get the following around bit either… do you actually imagine walking from one location to the next? Seems time consuming. I just kinda zoom to the next location… there is no real passage of time, so can’t really follow or watch the character going from one place to the next.

So that only leaves adding the character into the image at the location… but if I can do that, I might as well just store more information in that location in the first place.

Well, maybe it works for other people.

You say checklist… so just one item per location? How many items total?



The tour guide would be interacting with the image, in the one I made with the alligator he was eating a desk in one spot and trying to use a computer in another.

When I say “follows them around” I don’t mean walking around behind them, I imagine I do it the same way you do, I see one location and then I see another. I suppose using a character would be the same as adding another image to a location that just lets you know that it’s different than the first time you were in a location.

It was a checklist of an orientation tour I was giving new volunteers at a place where I work. There are 29 lines on the list some of them have multiple items, I don’t know the total offhand. When I first did it I used a palace that I already had made for something else.

That palace only had 23 locations so I have already made a new one. My lightening fast brain decided that since I was giving a tour to just use the place I’m giving the tour of as a palace and the alligator I used gave me the idea to put an animal in each of the locations in alphabetical order so I could remember the order of the palace and make sure I don’t skip anything. So now the alligator is behind the desk in the front office and a bear is in the next location doing bear stuff.



Okay, but that’s just an alphabet peg system. Animals starting with A, B, C, D, etc, in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. location. From what you said before it should have been alligator in 23 locations, followed by bear in the same 23 locations, followed by cow in the very same locations, duck, etc. until you get to zebra for a total of 23 x 26 = 598 locations.

That’s exactly what that sounds like, so just additional information in the next image at the very same location rather than a modified location for the next image. With just one item there, this might work for 3-5 rounds. After that it’ll become pretty hard trying to figure out what the duck did there or was it the elephant, etc. So you might as well just put 3 items for that location in the first place and move on.



Yes, it’s a different system than what I was speaking about earlier with the characters. I just mentioned the alphabet system because I was answering a question about that checklist and then I rambled on off track.

I think having a different character go to all the locations would be helpful, to me at least with keeping things in order. I have 10 rooms in my house if I count closets, if I put 10 locations in each room and then I add a few things to this room or that one then I start getting too much in a room. I think less clutter would be better for me. It just seems having a character like the Hulk at each location is an easier way to double what I can remember without having to sit and think of new items. I don’t like the idea of fire so much, or seasons or day and night. It seems to me that different very strange characters interacting with the objects would just be more memorable.

I don’t know though, I’m just trying to work all this out myself. I’ve only ever used memory palaces to memorize fairly short lists and some short poems and things. I’ve made a few palaces though that I want to use for larger projects.

Right now I’m trying to figure out how to memorize a list of 167 zoos and aquariums in the US, along with the city and state they’re in.


(Andreas) #19

Has anyone tried that fire/frozen thing? I’m gonna try with fire on my first few loci in my Pi palace to see if it works or if I just get confused. Would be awesome to have almost 100 loci available again!
Any pointers? Like do the images interact with the fire somehow, or do you simply just see that tree outside your house now being on fire?


(ron arnett) #20


There are a lot of ways to manage memory palaces. You will probably already have received a lot of suggestions. The thing to keep in mind when you are at the beginning stage is to reduce the mental energy associated with your journey.

Let’s say you have a six room house for your journey. It is only in your own preconception that all six rooms must be included in one continuous journey. Simply construct a palace out of one set of three rooms and another completely different palace out of the remaining three rooms.

By different, I mean treat them separately with their own file names and rehearsal times. Put them into your spread sheet (as you should be doing) under separate files with distinguishing names like upstairs/downstairs or front/back. Different files with different names with different content recall reviewed at different times. Just like you might do when using the inside of your house and the outside of your house.

There are ways to avoid doing that but they require more mental energy to keep it straight. Imagine you visited Paris and used the hotel for a memory palace. You wouldn’t stop there and say …well, that’s it for Paris. Too bad because there is a lot of France related stuff I would like to memorize but I don’t want to get them all mixed up… You would simply treat the cathedral next door as a different palace.

With practice, you will start using memory palaces geared toward the content you are trying to memorize. Save large palaces for large bodies of recall material and have multiple small ones for smaller, more focused content. The beauty of small ones is that you can always add an ikea cabinet to each station to increase the number of locations included in the journey by what ever number of drawers and features you attach to the cabinets.

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