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How to Remember Where You Parked Your Car
by On April 14, 2008

Leah SimpsonAt our memory training workshops, we consistently hear from people that they have challenges remembering where they parked their car. Believe it or not, even me, the memory trainer, would walk out of the store and have no idea where my car was. I once almost called security once to report it stolen! That’s when I decided I needed a system.

So here is my system for remembering where I parked my car. There are two types of situations here.

1. Sometimes you park in a garage or a lot that has letters and numbers. Oh, that makes it so easy – well, assuming you did your 21-day follow-up and have a picture for every letter of the alphabet. If not, take a minute and create an image to represent each letter of the alphabet. For instance, you might use a picture of an apple for the letter “A,” a ball for the letter “B,” a cat for the letter “C” and so on. Use your representative picture for the letter and the picture for the number from the tree list (click the link if you need a refresher of the tree list.) Then you are all set.

Here an example: You park in E-3. You picture an elephant standing on a stool, on the top of your car. If you saw an elephant, crushing your car with a stool, would you forget it? Nope! And you won’t forget where you parked either.

2. What if the lot isn’t so conveniently marked though? When you park, get out of your car and stop. Look directly at the building that you are going to walk into. Find a distinguishing feature.

For example, with Borders Books, I would use the “B” in their store front sign. Now choose an action. My (maybe twisted) mind has chosen gun shot marks and explosion. So, I see the “B” in Borders getting shot at and exploding. I know my car is in direct line with that marking.

So when I leave the store, I look at the building and ask myself, “what was getting shot?” I walk to that point and walk down that aisle of the lot. And there’s my car!

With these two techniques, you won’t be wandering through parking lots anymore wasting time. Now, you can find your car! Just use your memory!

Do you have any other methods you use to remember where you parked your car? Post a comment below.

Be Free!

Leah Simpson

  1. Sean Lewis

    When I get from my car to the door into wherever I’m going (mall, door to the stairs from the parking deck), I look back at where I pareked from that point. This is what I will see when I’m coming back _to_ my car, after all.

    I use songs to remember floors (“One in a Million”, “Two Tickets to Paradise”…) and hum it to myself in the doorway.

  2. Leah

    Great idea, Sean! The reason this works is because you create a visual trigger to help you know where to go back to your car. Songs are great reminders, too, because they are full of action and emotion. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Leah

    Here’s another example–just yesterday, I parked my car at the airport on level 5, section A. How did I remember that? Well, I visualized a glove (from the tree list–number 5), picking up an Apple (my image for the letter A) off of my car. When my husband called last night and asked me where I parked because he needed to get something out of my car, I had an easy time telling him, “5A” instead of, “Geez, I have no idea!”

  4. Sylvia Landis

    I think of the parking lot like a football field.
    Sometimes I park in the end zone…sometimes on the
    50 yard line. I’m often dashing into a building, so I
    have an estimate of how far I have run, like a 50 yard dash. When returning to the lot, also helps if your key remote turns on your car lights. Your car will blink its eyes and smile for your return no matter how packed the parking lot is.

  5. Stefan

    These ideas all sound useful. However, the easiest way, in my mind, to remember where I parked my car is to open-up my iphone app, “Where Is My Car Parked?”, wait a couple of seconds for the GPS system to locate me, click one button, then forget about it — my car’s location is saved in my iphone’s memory. And my memory is freed to do other important things!

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