Any trepidation about trying to memorize a deck is vastly overdone. There are several effective, valid and easy memory tools available, and you shouldn't be fearful just because the task initially sounds daunting . It's not, and it doesn't take a super-power memory, or a great brain. All it takes is (1)being willing to get over the front-end inertia and give it a try, (2) patience, and (3) practice. This is no different than what it takes to learn any worthwhile move or sleight.
My experience (and believe me, I've spoken with and guided dozens of people, over a period of more than 20 years to help them memorize a stack) is that it takes about 2-3 days (of perhaps a couple hours of study each day) to fully learn 52 cards and their numerical positions (i.e., their "stack numbers"). At this point you'll be able to recite everything you needed, just somewhat slowly and maybe haltingly -- but it would be in your mind, your memory. If you then practice for, say, 45 minutes a day for the next 2-3 weeks, you'll know it cold, and you'll be able to do it quickly, accurately, and confidently. That total time (not more than a month, without driving yourself crazy) surely isn't bad for a tool that can last you a lifetime. The only people I've ever met who parade about how difficult it is, are those who in fact have never actually given it a try.
I personally recommend using the tried-and-true phonetic alphabet peg system, but it's an individual thing, and different memory aids will work for different people. The Phonetic peg system has a number of strong things going for it:
1- there are only ten things that actually need to get memorized by rote, and you can memorize them in 10 minutes, easily. From there on, everything else fits together, based on those 10 phonetic pegs.
2- it's an age-old, tried and true system. It's over 100 years old, and virtually every professional memory course, every book on memory,and every memory expert uses it. You can find it in Greater Magic, p. 902, and many other books. (It's also set forth in my book Bound to Please, where it's explained in great detail, tailored for the sole purpose of memorizing a stack (any stack), but it's certainly not original with or peculiar to me, or the Aronson stack).
3-once the pegs are learned, you can actually use it (if you choose) for all sorts of memorization (lists, phone numbers, memory feats). It's not limited to playing cards (but, of course, that's it's best application....).
4-it provides you with a comforting "crutch" that you can always fall back on, to help you recall a particular card or stack number, if real memory at some point is slow or fails you for a moment. So it's a confidence builder.
5-it's a very organized, systematic way of learning. In addition, it frees you from learning the cards sequentially.
By the way, several years ago I wrote a set of lecture notes, Memories Are Made of This, which is an introduction to memorized deck magic. It's a 22 page booklet that answers a host of FAQ's, has a discussion of ways of learning and practicing a stack, and sets forth five basic principles used in memorized deck magic, with effects as examples of each one. I used the pamphlet at some private workshops I conducted, and a number of people have found it helpful -- so I'm now working with my website developer to post it as a free download on my Website (simonaronson.com). With luck (I'm not a computer afficianado) it should be available in about a month or so. Hope this is helpful.