If you choose to do virtual learning this year, it’s important to create a sense of normalcy throughout the school year. For those with kids in K-5, think back to your elementary school days. What do you remember? Building blocks, story time, and everyone sitting on a giant rug may come to mind. Within your home, you can recreate a few of these memories on a budget with thrifted finds from your local Goodwill! To promote reading at home, we compiled the supplies needed to create an at-home reading nook.


  • Books according to reading level
  • Pillows
  • A plush blanket
  • Basket(s) to store books


Once we had our reading nook vision in mind, we visited the Johnston Goodwill store to find our items. First, we headed to the book section, which offers a variety of options for all reading levels. If you have multiple children, be sure to choose appropriate books for both reading levels. You can determine which books are best for your child’s age and reading level here. It can also be fun to bring your children along to have them be engaged with choosing their books and nook accessories!

At Goodwill of Central Iowa retail stores, all children’s books cost just $0.99 while adult books cost $0.99 for paperback and $1.69 for hardcover books. If you shop for a child in middle or high school, we recommend bringing them along to select their books. However, please note that our Goodwill Outlet location does not currently allow for children under the age of 16. They may already have certain series or interests that they would want. For this project, we picked 20 books to begin.

While buying secondhand books is great for building a home library, select libraries in the Des Moines metro have begun offering a book pick-up option for rentals. If you choose to supplement your at-home selection, we recommend picking up another basket to keep your library rentals separated!


Once you have your books selected, you can select containers and baskets that will hold them. If you have multiple children or reading levels you plan to progress through, we recommend putting them in separate containers.

Most baskets and storage containers at Goodwill of Central Iowa retail stores cost between $3-5.


Once you choose the blankets, we recommend selecting a few fun, plush pillows and a blanket to complete the cozy new space. At Goodwill, small couch and bed pillows are $2.69 while large pillows are $3.09! 

While we chose to keep our reading nook simple, you can completely transform a space by creating a blanket fort, using a pop-up tent, or adding string lights to a corner. Plus, you can involve your kids further by providing a few craft supplies to dress up their book basket!

Once all of the decorations, storage containers, and books are compiled, you end up with a fun little reading nook for the school year for just under $40!

If you create a reading nook for your home, tag us in your creations by using @DMGoodwill.

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