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I have some closet shelving clips I need to remove to paint a wall. The problem is that they are molly bolts. These are the exact clips/mollys.

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The question is similar to this one, but in my case, I am dealing with molly bolts, instead of simple wall anchors, and they are plastic which have become hardened/stubborn over time (they are less pliable). With a good amount of fanagaling I can rip them out of the wall, but that makes the hole bigger, almost rendering (or actually rendering) the clip usless unless I patch the drywall to reuse the clips. Is there any way I can "uncompress" the molly bolts, so that I can slide them out more easily with less damage to the wall?

Most sites/videos on the matter, suggest simply cutting off the molly bolt head and pushing it into the wall but in this case its a shelving clip that I want to reuse so I cant cut it. I saw a youtube video on the subject, where they suggest inserting a small screwdriver into the screw hole and banging with a hammer to decompress it, but because these are plastic and not metal, the molly bolt does not want to "uncompress", it just "bounces" when you try to hit it out.

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4 Answers

Leave it in place, use masking tape, paint around it....

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You're better off either cutting them flush or pulling the clips out with pliers and patching the holes. A few years ago I repainted my closets and pantry, and decided it was easier to just uninstall EVERYTHING and start over. I had these anchors, which were pretty much impossible to remove without destroying:

enter image description here

The anchors you have are also single-use. If you want to put the shelves back up, might I suggest getting brackets to tie into the studs like these:

enter image description here

You won't need drywall anchors, and you can use screws directly into the studs, which means stronger support and easier removal in the future. Or you can get replacements for the same type of hardware you have here.

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I just had a thought. If I cut them flush, cant I simply just simply put the face back together with the cut off base and put the screw back in? I would think the screw would hold it all together again. –  n00b Dec 18 '13 at 18:13
    
I don't think that would work. The metal portion isn't a screw - it's a straight pin that simply forces open the plastic anchor once inside the wall. Plus the base inside the wall is likely to fall off inside the wall once you cut it flush. That's what happens to standard toggle bolts when you uninstall them too. –  Doresoom Dec 18 '13 at 20:51
    
OrganicLawnDIY has a good point. Have you tried just removing the pin with a pair of pliers? If that's all that's holding the toggle portion open, then you may be able to wiggle them out afterwards. –  Doresoom Dec 18 '13 at 20:56
    
The picture I had before, was just an example. I have uplaoded the actual picture of the clips. The third picture shows that even after taking out the screw the plastic stays rigid (even though I can force it out, it still rips the drywall more). If I cut off the face from the rest of the bolt, couldnt I Just connect it back together with a screw? –  n00b Dec 18 '13 at 21:26
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What's going to stop the part in the wall from simply spinning with the screw when you try to screw them back together? –  Doresoom Dec 18 '13 at 22:50
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Those look like the Closetmaid ones. If you just remove the nail you can gently pull the plastic out.

Me I would just paint over them if it's just a closet.

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sorry, the picture I had before was just an example. Ive uploaded actual pictures of what I have. –  n00b Dec 18 '13 at 21:27
    
@noob. Ok in that case remove the screw and try to gently pull them out. :) Twist and pull and the plastic should compress enough to get them out. –  OrganicLawnDIY Dec 18 '13 at 21:34
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A tool like this, in the right size, would be perfect. But kinda overkill:

enter image description here

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how would that work? –  n00b Dec 18 '13 at 22:33
    
You unscrew the screw until it's out, then put it in a turn or two so it's holding the far end and sticking out the face. The tool's fingers slip behind the clip. Wind down the tool's bolt on the head of the screw, it pushes the screw and far end of the molly back, shrinking the wide part of the molly, returning it to the shape it was when new and unexpanded. In theory. In practice, if the mollys are brittle they may just break. Still seems like way more work than painting around them (exactly how perfect a paint job do you need inside a closet, anyway?) –  Ecnerwal Dec 19 '13 at 21:27
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