Building Your Memory Palaces

large_4070584402 What is a memory palace? It is a mental structure that can help you memorize anything in an easy and sticky way. By using it, you can quickly memorize what you need and remember it at the time you need. Basically, it consists of defining a set of locations in your mind. Then, use those locations to visualize on them what you want to memorize. In order to remember, you just move along the locations (in your mind) retrieving the images in each one. That is why this method is also named the method of Loci. Memory palaces are useful to memorize lists of items. A list of items can be your list of purchases, a list of components of a drug, or a list of vocabulary for a new language you are learning. Anyone can build a memory palace, and here you are going to learn how.

The Technique

Before being able to use a memory palace to memorize things, you need to build at least one. Once you have built it, you can use it to store things in your memory.

How to build a memory palace

  1. Define a place. Select a place you want to use as memory palace. This place should be something that can be clear in your mind. When selecting the place, I suggest you use a place that you already know, like your home, your city or your office.
  2. Define a route. In the place you decided, define a set of locations, one after another creating a route that uniquely goes from one location to the next, always following the same order. Each one of those locations will be the anchor points where you will be able to memorize an item. If it is your first time, create a simple route with just a few number of points.
  3. Memorize the route. You have to have clear in your mind the route you must follow when using the palace. For this purpose, memorize the route. Repeat it several times until you know it by heart.

Create as many memory palaces as you want. I would recommend to create several with different number of points. Then you can use each one depending on the situation.

How to use a memory palace

  • Memorizing
  1. Have a list of what you want to remember.
  2. Start visualizing the first place of your palace.
  3. Visualize the first item of the list at the first place of the palace. Use the visualization techniques of this post.  In order to remeber easily you must create vivid visualizations.
  4. Repeat point 2 with the second location of the palace and the second item of the list.
  5. Keep doing it until all the items on the list have been memorized.
  6. If you want to remeber the items for a long time, repeat the whole process the next day, and once again the next week.
  • Remembering
  1. Visualize the palace. Move (in your mind) to the first location.
  2. Visualize clearly the location. Soon, your memory will show you the whole image your put on that location.
  3. From the image you get, retrieve the data you memorized at that point.
  4. Repeat with the rest of the locations of the palace.

The Workout

Before doing this exercises, you must master visualizations. If you do not, check this post and perform the workouts defined there before doing the next ones.


  • Create a memory palace of 10 locations using your house. Define very well the locations and memorize them. We will call it the house-palace.
  • Create a memory palace of 20 locations using your way to work, or to the gym or to a place where you go almost every day. Define very well the locations and memorize them. We will call it the work-palace.
  • Create a memory palace of 30 locations using your city. Define very well the locations and memorize them. We will call it the city-palace.

  • Generate a list of 10 items you need to buy the next time you go to the supermarket.
  • Use the house-palace to memorize them.
  • When you go to the supermarket, retrieve the items from the palace.

  • Generate a list of 20 cities you would like to visit.
  • Use the work-palace to memorize them.
  • Follow the previous house-palace remembering what you stored in there.

  • Generate a list of 30 books you would like to read.
  • Use the city-palace to memorize them.
  • Follow the previous work-palace remembering what you stored in there.

  • Follow the house-palace and retrieve all the items you memorized there.
  • Follow the work-palace and retrieve all the items you memorized there.
  • Follow the city-palace and retrieve all the items you memorized there.

  • Go to the cinema watch a thriller movie.
  • Use the house-palace to memorize all the names of the people appears on the movie, in order as they appear. If you don’t know how to visualize the names of people, read this post.
  • Once you arrive home, retrieve the names from your palace.
Now you are ready to use memory palaces to store many things. Practice with the three you already have learnt in your daily life, and when you feel you need more, create different ones.   photo credit: archer10 (Dennis) via photopin cc

2 Responses to Building Your Memory Palaces

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