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I have a shelf holder, with all but one of the shelves taken off, in my closet. They look like this:

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I'd like to take the two uppermost things sticking out of it off - I have no idea what they're called. It looks like they are supposed to come off:

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I've tried pushing up near the point where they connect to the rail, but they didn't show any signs of budging.

Should I just push harder, or is there a better way?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Gently hammer up on the bottom, right next to the rail. They jam in place, especially if heavily loaded, and sometimes need persuasion to come loose again.

Several light taps will be less likely to go wrong than pounding as hard as you can.

Some (not all) will also respond to lifting up on the outermost end. Don't overdo that, or you'll bend them, especially if they are not of that flavor (which can be hard to tell for sure.)

They are called shelf brackets or shelf supports.

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A rubber mallet would be my tool of choice for tapping them loose. Looking at the bottom left photograph in close-up, I think they're designed to slide into the slot at an angle, then drop into place; in reverse, lift straight up then angle them to take them out. –  Niall C. Jan 1 at 3:53
    
Worth a try at first if you have one, but most of the really stuck ones I've played with need a steel hammer to provide enough of a shock to get them moving. Rubber cushions the blow a bit too much, IME. –  Ecnerwal Jan 1 at 3:56
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