Home > Uncategorized > A THIRD MEMORY TECHNIQUE


In previous posts I have talked about two memory techniques: memory pegs and the story system (click the memory tag to the right to view these posts). This third memory technique I’ll describe in this post is perhaps the simplest of the three. It’s a system that supposedly dates all the way back to the Greek orators, who used this strategy to memorize their speeches. It also happens to be the most foundational piece of my go-to memory system (which is a combination of several techniques that I’ll talk about in a future post).


This particular technique is what I call the rooms system. To start, simply think of a house you know very well. For this example, think of your childhood home. Think of all the rooms on the first level of that house–kitchen, living, dining, bedrooms, bathrooms, garage, foyer, etc. Count up in your mind how many different rooms there are. Then imagine yourself systematically walking through each room of that house in the order that makes the most sense. For instance, I picture myself walking in the back door into the study, then into the living room, then kitchen, then garage, then dining room, foyer, first bedroom, and so on until I mentally walk in every room of the house.

The next step is to visualize each item in whatever list you’re trying to memorize in the successive rooms. Using our old example, say you want to go to the store and purchase eggs, butter, soup, a roast, ice cream, lettuce, chicken broth, sour cream, cookies, and milk (which I am still able to recall using the two previous memory techniques). All I do is picture eggs in the bookshelves in the study, people sliding out of the couches in the living room because there is butter on them, a big pot of soup cooking in the kitchen, a roast as a hood ornament on the car in the garage, a gigantic scoop of ice cream as the centerpiece on the dining room table, lettuce leaves instead of floor tile in the foyer, chicken broth spilled all over the bed in the first bedroom, someone using sour cream for hair gel in the bathroom, someone hiding cookies under their pillow in the back bedroom, and dad drinking out of a milk carton in my parents’ room.

Then I mentally rehearse the list several times by visualizing these items in the house. Once again, I’m able to go to the store and be sure to get everything I went there for in the first place.

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  1. November 11, 2009 at 9:58 am

    I remember the first time you shared this with me. Thought you were insane. And a genius. …Still think both of those things. 🙂

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