The Lost Art of Memorization


Since the beginning of time, man has accumulated information. Historical finds have documented this fact with discoveries in art, writing, the printed word, and song. Due to limited literacy, most societies have relied at least somewhat on oral tradition and memorization to capture and retain the important. Recently, the advent of the Internet, handheld computers, and cloud-based storage has resulted in the “outsourcing” of memory… loading pertinent knowledge to external sources for retrieval on demand. With the ability to quickly and easily access almost anything online, it seems logical to ask what—if anything—is worth memorizing?

Admittedly, it is unrealistic to memorize everything. However, there are times when having the ability to easily pull a fact from memory is both quicker and more productive than looking something up. In addition, in the unexpected event of restricted access to stored information, (e.g. theft, power failure, hard-drive damage, loss of a phone, hacked account, etc.), there are certain pieces of data that it would be helpful to know.

Whether for convenience, preparedness, or pleasure, here is my list of things that are worth committing to memory…

Things Worth Memorizing

Important Numbers

  • Social Security number
  • A major credit card number, CCV (security code) and expiration date
  • Debit card number and pin
  • Your license plate number
  • Passwords you frequently use/change
  • Combination for locker/bicycle lock/garage door
  • Alarm code
  • Home and cell phone numbers for yourself and key family members
  • Nearby pharmacy number
  • Your attorney’s phone number
  • Passport number
  • Driver’s license number
  • Wifi password for your home and office


Basic Facts

  • 1 inch = 2.54 cm
  • 32 degrees F = 0 degrees Celsius
  • 5280 feet = 1 mile (think of the phrase ‘5 Tomatoes’)
  • 4 quarts in a gallon, 2 pints in a quart
  • Multiplication table


About You

  • Your address and those of close family members
  • Address of key locations
  • Family birthdays
  • Anniversary date
  • Your blood type (and that of your spouse & children)
  • Current medications and dosages



  • Names of your country’s leaders, both current & historical (e.g. US Presidents)



  • Meaningful scripture verses or spiritual sayings
  • Favorite poem
  • A good joke 🙂

A guy walks into a bar and asks the bartender, “What’s the quickest way to get to Chicago?”
The Bartender says, “Are you walking or driving?”
The guy says, “I’m driving.”
The Bartender says, “That’s the quickest way.” ~ Milt Abel

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Memorization can be difficult, but music, rhymes and acronyms are all helpful tricks… just think of how many commercial jingles you know!

Have you found it helpful to memorize certain things? Do you have something to add to this list?

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