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The Closet Valet Rod & Why You Should Want One

closet valet rod with suit

The closet valet rod is one of the most misunderstood organization tools. Perhaps you've looked at one before and wondered "why" or "what is it used for." The truth is, when it comes to organization, this little closet accessory is one of the most practical additions anyone could wish to own. It simply makes moving clothes in and out of the closet easier. Once you know the facts about this goliath of convenience and time management, you'll want one for your own closet.

What is a closet valet rod?

A closet valet rod is a small closet accessory intended to function as a temporary place to hang clothing. A step up from a hook, closet valet rods come in different sizes, but all can hold several hangers. They are not intended to replace a closet rod. Rather, they make moving clothes on and off the closet rod more convenient. Valet rods, also called valet poles, mount to the side of a closet panel or the bottom of a fixed shelf. The best ones are retractable or can fold away when not in use, requiring little to no space when installed correctly. Either pull it or flip it out when you need it. Forget it's there when you don't.

closet valet rod with woman's dress on hanger
This retractable closet valet rod has the next day's shirt and tie selected and ready to go.

Who needs a valet rod?

Everyone needs a closet valet rod. Have you ever struggled to put away a pile of dry cleaning? How about selecting clothing to take along on a trip? A closet valet rod can help with this. It's also a great way to plan what you're going to wear the next day, saving you time and hassles when you're trying to get out the door in the morning. And the closet valet rod doesn't have to be confined to the closet. Put one in your mudroom and laundry as well. They are often used as a laundry aide, providing a place to hang that wet jacket, blouse or delicate lingerie until it's fully dry and ready to be put away. In short, it's the one closet organizer that we could all use — maybe even more than one.

Types of closet valets & where to use them.

There are different types of valet closet systems. Some small units are similar to a glorified hook. Others are designed to offer a place to separate delicate laundry hung by hanger to drip dry. However, the closet valet rod that retracts in and out to hold garments on hangers is what most people think of when a valet rod or pole is mentioned. This type can handle the most hangers and weight. They are also an invaluable tool when it comes to closet organization and time management.

Retractable Closet Valet Rods:

Retractable closet valet rods slide in and out of an attractive metal housing mounted to the side of your closet panel. They can also be installed along the bottom of a fixed shelf. It's a real time saver when getting ready in the morning because they make it easy to just grab your clothes with accessories already chosen.

  • Sizes: Retractable closet valet rods come in 12 and 14-inch lengths to mount to standard closet panel depths. 12-inch rods will extend about 8 more inches when pulled forward, while the 14-inch size pulls out an additional 10-inches. Dimensions vary by brand but valet poles measure approximately 14-1/8 in. L x 1-1/16 in. W x 1-7/8 in. H for the 14-inch size. Expect the 12-inch variety to measure around 11-3/4 in. L x 15/16 in. W x 15/16 in. H.
  • Weight capacity: Expect them to support around 30 pounds when installed correctly. That is more than sufficient to handle several wet shirts or a typical delivery from the dry cleaners.
  • Finishes: Numerous metallic finishes are available to match any decor including polished chrome, brushed chrome, metallic slate, oil rubbed bronze, and matte gold.
  • Installation: This type of valet pole can be easily mounted to any vertical closet panel with just a couple of screws. Depending on the layout of your closet, you may want to install one on the underside of a shelf for use between closet panels as well.
  • Uses: This type of valet rod is made to work with closet organizer panels. Place them in your bedroom closets, coat closets, and mudroom organizers. They provide a convenient spot to hang the heavy dry cleaning when you first bring it in from the car or while you are putting it away in the closet. Use them to stage your clothing for the next day so you won't be late for work. They are also very practical when getting ready for a trip. Simply arrange all the clothing with hangers on the valet pole and zip the garment bag around the clothes. It's a quick and easy way to pack, making it a very popular feature in the closets of business travelers.
telescoping closet valet rod, available in 5 finishes
This telescoping closet valet rod is available in five finishes to match any décor. Each color comes in two lengths, 12-inch or 14-inch, to fit standard closet panels and shelves

Fold away hanger holder rods:

Laundry hanger holders function in a similar manner and can be used as an alternative to closet valet rods. The main differences are the limited size and color options, utilitarian appearance, and the way they fold out rather than pull-out from the wall or shelf. The hanger slots are spaced to keep items separated so that garments can drip dry without touching each other. They are also less expensive than a closet valet rod. This type of hanger holder can be mounted directly to your wall studs in addition to a closet panel, giving the item a lot of versatility. The economical price tag makes them very popular in the laundry room. Hanger holder rods typically have several slots for holding hangers. They fold up or down when not in use. The better ones can lock the main hanging bar into different angles/positions.

  • Dimensions: Size varies by brand, but typical dimension are about 15/16 in. W x 2-13/16 in. D x 10-11/16 in. H when folded up. The arm with slots for hangers extends 11 inches when in use.
  • Capacity: About 6 items on hangers or 22 pounds (10kg)
  • Finish: Polished Chrome
  • Installation: Install with three screws onto a closet panel, the back of a solid wood door, directly into the studs behind the dry wall, or on a cleat that is secured to the studs.
  • Uses: Use in the laundry room to extend over a sink for drip drying swimsuits or silk blouses on hangers. Place one near your ironing center so that you can hang your ironed shirts and pants when you're finished pressing. Mount to the back of the bedroom door to function as a closet valet rod. Use in any closet with wire organizers or other types of closets that don't have closet organizer panels.
Fold out hanger holder used as closet valet
This fold out hanger holder can be used as a closet valet rod for up to six garments at a time. The fold-up arm pivots and can be locked into different positions depending on need. It's versatile mounting makes it the perfect solution for the laundry, back of the door, or for use in wire closets.

Valet hooks for the closet, mudroom and laundry:

Certain hooks can also be used as a small closet valet. They won't hold as much as a true closet valet rod or a fold out hanger holder, but in certain instances, a hook style valet may be what you need. Look for hooks with separate grooves designed to hold multiple hangers at a time. The Waterfall hook is a quality example of a valet hook that can hold three hangers and comes in five different metallic finishes.

  • Dimensions: The Waterfall valet hook pictured measures 3-3/4 in. L x 1/2 in. W x 6-1/2 in. H
  • Capacity: About 3 items on hangers
  • Finish: Numerous metallic finishes are available to match any decor including polished chrome, brushed chrome, metallic slate, oil rubbed bronze, and matte gold.
  • Installation: Install with two screws onto a cleat that is secured to the studs.
  • Uses: The Waterfall valet hook can be used alone but is most commonly installed in multiples along a 5-inch cleat in the closet. Use it in tight or awkward spaces where another type of closet valet won't fit.
Waterfall hook used as closet valet holds three hangers
This hook includes three grooves and is specifically designed to hold multiple hangers as a valet for the closet.

Is a closet valet rod right for you?

Nearly everyone could benefit from including some type of closet valet in their organization scheme. The closet valet rod may be the unsung hero of organization because they help make life easier for the average person. A valet pole can assist homeowners with getting dressed in the morning and make it easier to put dry cleaning away. They help when packing for a trip and offer a handy place to set your freshly ironed shirts or drip-dry laundry without having to worry about wrinkling. Most people could benefit from owning a closet valet. With the different types and sizes available, there's bound to be one that's perfect for your home.