How to Use the Memory Palace Technique?

If you feel at a loss in the store, having forgotten a shopping list at home, if you fail to maintain eye contact at the presentation, staring at your own slides, if you fail to memorize foreign words, you need a mental walk around the Memory Palace.


The method of loci was named so not after the Norse god. The name comes from the Latin word “loci”, which means “location”. This mnemonic method is also called a Memory Palace or a mental walk.

The method of loci was developed in ancient Rome, when the masters of rhetoric were not allowed to use their records and held all the information for the many hours of performances in their memory. The method consists in tying things you need to remember to the well-known locations. Facts may vary, for example:

  • foreign words;
  • materials for presentation at a conference;
  • a shopping list for a holiday dinner.

In 2002, British mnemonist and author of books on the development of memory Dominic O’Brien set a record, remembering the sequence of 2808(!) cards, glancing at each of them only once.

So how do you store information using a Memory Palace?

Step 1: Build a Memory Palace

Select a location. This should be a familiar place that you can easily imagine and which you can mentally walk in. For example, your apartment. To make the technique effective, you need to create a route for your walk rather than simply imagine the apartment.

Make a list of the distinctive nuances of the place. For an apartment, these may be items of furniture or decor. Try to analyze the space systematically, for example in accordance with the order in which you normally do the cleaning.

Hold the place in your memory. It may take some time, but this step will ensure that the method of loci will work effectively. If this is difficult for you, use one of the additional steps:

  • walk the route once again and fix the details on paper;
  • always start from one place;
  • go back to your place mentally as often as possible.

Step 2: Create Associations

Having built a Memory Palace, start placing the needed items in it to remember them.

Approach this process creatively. For example, you want to remember a shopping list. Imagine the eggs falling off the couch, flip the frying bacon for it to stick to the door, place celery, cabbage and leek at a table and imagine how they talk about the weather. In the bathroom, the fabric softener is brushing its teeth, and the tile cleaner is taking a shower. The more delusional and ridiculous associations you have, the better!

Step 3: Walk around the Memory Palace

Repeat the created image and make sure that you do not forget anything.

That’s all! Done! You can go to the store.

It is natural that the shopping list should not be the only way to use this method. In the store, it will be even more convenient to use a paper list or create one on your smartphone. However, memorizing a list of purchases is appropriate for practicing the method. Later, you will move on to more complex issues.

Over time, you will be able to create a few routes and keep in mind more information. For example, try to remember the interiors of your favorite hotel while staying there on vacation, pay attention to the brightest building on your way to work or go to the favorite park of your childhood.

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