1) Learn the etymology of the characters. So you must study the oracle bones and then the seal script and bronze script to understand what the character is a simplified and stylized image of. Knowing what the character really depicts, really means, and its evolution via stylization and simplification makes it MUCH easier to remember the meaning of the character.
2) Study characters in series of related ones. Often the character originally had a literal meaning which then became a metaphor; radicals were then added to distinguish literary and metaphorical from literal meanings. No determinant means its probably a literal object.
3) nouns are also verbs in ancient Chinese. Often modern nouns are also verbs though even in modern chinese. this distinction may also explain the addition of determinants.
4) Make a mnemonic out of the pinyin: JIN J.ust I.nches N.ow =CLOSE 近
5） I like to learn characters which are sound-alikes and also characters which are look alikes.
夫大天未末禾米失木 look much alike are all basic characters and you must understand these are pictures of literal objects or symbols of literal objects. Fu is a rich man with a big hat. big is a man with his arms stretched out wide da. sky tian is a big man under 1 cloud. wei is a tree which has NOT YET grown fully. mo is the tip of that tree which is now fully grown. he is a grain stalk the top line is full ripe and drooping, rice is small grains on a bush mi, an arrow which misses its mark is shi and a tree has one three legs (roots, though i prefer to see it as 1 trunk and 2 lower branches)
this is an example of a character set. they all sound like pu.
普 谱 潽 镨 鐠
first is the root:
the determinants added distinguish other related words which are at least sound-alikes.
4) Semantic and phonetic and pictorial elements are reinforcing! there are so many homonyms that the scribes had plenty of choices and definite reasons for choosing THIS character to represent the meaning or THAT character as a phonetic AND/OR semantic and pictorial element.
Hanzi are sound-pictures. The semantic phonetic and pictorial elements are COMPLIMENTARY and not arbitrary!