The previous owner of my new house installed ClosetMaid shelves in the closet. I removed the shelves, but had a really hard time with those clips and brackets (pictures attached). Seem like they were hammered into drywall anchors.

How can I remove them without damaging the wall?

UPDATE: I found the shelf clips on Lowe's website.

clip bracket

  • 2
    Looks like if you remove the nail, the rest of the clip should come out without too much effort. The trick will be to pry out the nail only, so the clips can be removed with as little damage as possible. You will still have holes to patch though.
    – Tester101
    Jan 9, 2012 at 15:10
  • 1
    @Tester101 is right, I have those same clips. You still end up with a very noticeable hole. Use a screwdriver to pry the nail up a bit then grab it with a claw hammer or pliers. Jan 9, 2012 at 15:34

8 Answers 8


They look like nails - they would not normally be nailed into drywall anchors as those are usually used for screws. Most likely they are nailed into a stud which is why they are tough to pull out.

You just need to pry it off using the back of a hammer or a pry bar. You can put a piece of wood behind whatever you are prying with so that you do not damage the drywall.

EDIT: OK they do have an anchor attached to them. Either way, same thing applies, just pull it out!

  • One of the clips came loose. I can see that the back of the clip sticks into the hole. Is it something I can pry out? Please see my updated product link.
    – zihaoyu
    Jan 9, 2012 at 14:25
  • Yes. Pry the nail out, then pull the clip out. If you can't get just the nail out then pry the hole thing out - you are going to have to patch it either way.
    – Steven
    Jan 9, 2012 at 15:45

The wall is already damaged - nails do that to walls - so you're looking at fixing the wall no matter what.

With that in mind, you want a hammer, a small pry bar, a small quantity of joint compound or "wall repair spackle" (the latter is in the paint department), a sponge, a 1" putty knife, 1 pint or quart of primer and an equal quantity of interior paint matched to your existing paint as closely as possible, and a 1" trim paint brush.

Use the prybar and hammer to remove the clips and their nails.

Spread the joint compound smoothly over the damaged area with the putty knife, and allow to dry.

With the sponge DAMP NOT WET, smooth the compound even more. Allow to dry again.

Apply primer with the brush to the dried joint compound. Clean brush, allow it and the primer to dry.

Use same brush to paint the now dry white primer.


Try your best not to pull out the whole bracket/clip without trying to pry the nail portion out first. The anchor used in these clips are the kind that split in half inside the wall so if you pry the whole fitting out, you will end up with an unnecessarily large hole to patch.

Unfortunately, as you can tell from the pictures, it's not easy to simply pry the metal nail out.

Another approach is what I've done with success. If you can't pull the nail out first, then you can pull the whole fitting out of the wall just a fraction of an inch. Then, take a small saw (preferably with a fine tooth blade) and then cut the wall anchor portion of the fitting. That will allow you to first remove the nail and the fitting, then, the anchor portion can either be removed or pushed into the wall cavity and out of the way.

  • I have the same clips in my closet and I have used both of these techniques with success.
    – Michaelkay
    Mar 18, 2013 at 17:33

I had these exact same shelf clips and I found that the corner of a putty knife is perfect to pry out the nail just enough to get a small flat bar under the nail head. Putty knife is flat and usually stiff/flexible metal that is needed to pry out the nail.


I used a flathead screwdriver that was a part of my computer repair kit from RadioShack. I was able to get the nail to come out enough and then grab it with pliers. Then once the nail is out, the anchor is really easy to pull out. I have a video available at http://youtu.be/T6BE45nCOiQ

Hope it helps!

Removing Closet hardware

  • 1
    I'm so glad I followed your advice instead of others'. It worked! Thanks!
    – Ryan
    Dec 1, 2016 at 21:23

These clips are in fact a nail with a drywall anchor. I have installed them before. In fact, I just completed doing a closet yesterday. There are two types of the anchors, I'm not sure which brand is which, but one brand actually has a slot in the top of he head to "unscrew" the nail to remove the brackets. This brand does not appear to have that. When I installed my closet organizers, I decided to not use the nails and use screws with the anchors instead. I also tried to find studs wherever possible. If I could find a stud in the proper location, I snipped off the end of the built in anchor and screwed straight into a stud.


I had the same issue with my house closet. Here's what you do, it worked for me. Being that its a nail with now gripping and it's deep in the anchor, get a pair of vice grip pliers, lock the pliers on to the anchor as tight as you can right where the nail is, once you've clamped the pliers unto the anchor try to pull the anchor out. Two things will happen, either the anchor will come right off with the nail attached, or the anchor will be removed just enough that you will be able to remove the nail with the back of your hammer. Nonetheless you're still gonna need to patch up the hole.

  • Great advise it was very helpful. I was lucky the nails were not in any studs and used a screwdriver to pry the nail out just enough to get a pair of needle nose plyers on it and pull the nail out.
    – user13143
    May 23, 2013 at 16:28

I just did a whole bunch of these. Take your needle nose pliers and press really hard around the nail head and grab the nail. Squeeze really hard and it will slide right out.

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