Upgrading Your Memory Palace:

Reusing Your Memory Palace to Memorize Anything

So now you know How To Use a Memory Palace To Memorize Anything! In this next section we are going to improve your ability to enter information permanently into the palace as well as how to reuse the same slots for different lists. 

Using Your Memory Palace Part II:
Try again, this time doing a mental review as you finish each room. Think, “I'm going to come back here and see the potato on the french fried table lit up by light flooding from the TV. That light is also making the grass on the desk grow and is glinting off the set of swords that my mother has put above the door. I wonder why she needs those? Maybe it is to fight off the pair of four foot tall marigolds that seem intent on tanning from the shinning TV light with their roots kicked up on the potato table."
Memory Palace MemorizationCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uggboy/
This process will reinforce the individual items as well as make the whole room into a picture that connects. Even if you can't remember the swords, you might think of the marigolds trying to break their way in and wonder what to do about it! Using this review method try another set and see how you do! 

Cleaning Your Memory Palace!:
Most of the time I use my memory palace for things that I only need to remember once or twice, like a shopping list, or all of the stuff to pack for a trip. This means that I will reuse the same slots and memory palace for many different things after a while. Sometimes this becomes difficult for people because the get confused as to whether it is milk that is squirting out of the udders hanging from the tv or orange juice. The problem of getting mixed up between lists actually is worse the better you are at making them! Luckily, there is a solution:  Cleaning!
Cleaning Your Mental Palace: How to Memorize AnythingCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/
If you are having trouble with overlapping lists, try going through and imagine yourself cleaning the memory palace. Remove the potatoes and scrub off the fried exterior of the table, take out the eject The Shinning DVD, etc. Item by item, undo your original memory after the list has served its purpose. When you have finished this mental spring cleaning take a little walk through the normal house. This walk will reinforce your "clean slate" of memory slots and get you ready for next week's shopping.
Getting Crowded With Multiple Lists:
But what if there are many lists that you want to keep forever. Maybe it's all those second cousins that you need to keep track of for the awkward family reunions. Maybe it's a list of the Presidents of the United States or even memorizing all 50 States themselves! I will tell you my technique, but as always different people use different sorts of methods that suit their personal way of thinking and you will probably have to decide what works best for you. The way that I have found to do this, which I call The Unusual Key Method. As far as I can tell, this is my own invention, and it has worked great for everyone I have taught it to! Give it a try and tell me how it works for you. 
Memory Palace Key: Memorize AnythingCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/misocrazy/
The Unusual Key Method:
While lists that are designed for one time use are usually memorized quickly with a focus on speed the Unusual Key Method assumes that since you want to remember it forever you will have a little bit more time to construct this version of your memory palace. To use the Unusual Key Method you first have to consider the list. Decide what the theme of the set of things is, be it States or cousins. Once you have found that theme, come up with some image that can connect to all of them. In this case it could be your grandfather or a US flag. Now, start just outside your memory palace and approach it holding your "key;" this object. Visualize your grandpa walking with you or the little flag on a stick in your hand as you approach the palace and use them to unlock the door. Now, as you place each thing to be memorized in its memory slot, associate it with both the slot and the key. It sounds a bit silly, but if you take it seriously it will work! Now all you need to do is approach the memory palace holding your key and you will walk into a "different" space for different lists. Take the time to build it properly and it will stick with you for years!
Now You Have The Tools!
There are tons of applications for using a memory palace. You can use it to make to-do lists, shopping lists, memorize a deck of cards, studying for your next test, or public speaking. Once you have the memory palace firmly established in your memory, you will find it becomes faster and easier to use! Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Memory Hack Series:
Total recall of an entire deck of cards? Totally possible with a few hours of work! You may never have heard of competitive memory championships, but you probably want to improve your memory. If you are like most people you occasionally (or if you are like I was, rather frequently) have trouble remembering the names of people you meet, to call your mother, what her telephone number is, or the ever present “where did I put my keys?” Maybe you are striving for more, memorizing pi to 100 digits or the order of a deck of cards. You may not believe me yet, but with a little work all of these tasks will become easy! I did it, and so can you! This article is the third in a series of articles on improving memory and is also part of the Body Hacks series where you learn things like Swearing to Reduce Pain or How to Itch a Tickling Throat