(this post originally appeared on Learnist, but it's been modified!)
It's sort of a running joke that actors live out of their cars...but it's not that funny because we kinda do. A few years ago, I was interviewed by Backstage West about the things I keep in the trunk of my car for any and all acting emergencies/eventualities, which inspired the following list of things you absolutely should have in your car. Do not argue with me--just take this list to the store (or get comfy in your pj's and fire up the Internets) and buy everything and keep it in your car. You'll thank me one day.
Things You Can't Buy on Amazon
7 Healthy & Non-Messy Car Snacks
If you're like me, you get REAL cranky when you're hungry (i.e. hangry). You'll need something to snack on while you're stuck on the 405 in between auditions.
Auto Club of Southern California (AAA) Membership
Speaking of the 405, get a AAA membership. Not technically a car kit item, but you will LOVE ME when your car breaks down on the 405 and you get a free tow home. Or when you go down to your car on your way to a huge pilot audition and your battery is dead and AAA shows up in 15 minutes and charges that sucker and you make it to the audition with time to spare (because you gave yourself so much travel time, right?)...
Things You CAN Buy on Amazon
The Best Stapler of All Time
It's a spring-loaded stapler. You will never go back to a regular stapler. Ever. Keep it loaded and with you at all times for last-minute stapling needs from headshots to sides.
These are my favorite highlighters. They're just as fat as a line of dialogue on sides, they are bright without being too hard to see through, they don't smear printed ink, and they last forever. Pro-tip: use blue if you think you'll need to make photocopies at some point--it doesn't show up on the copies.
Bic Clic-Stic Retractable Pens
Retractable means you'll never lose the cap. Ink doesn't get smeared by highlighters (usually), they're cheap so one someone in the waiting room asks to borrow your pen you won't be mad when you never get it back, and they write great.
Wet Ones Sensitive Skin Hand Wipes Travel Pack
Great for in-car cleanups, and if you get the sensitive skin ones (that are fragrance-free) you can use it on your face in a pinch.
AmazonBasics Lightning Car Charger
Remember when I was talking about getting stuck on the 405? Get a car charger for your phone. Just do it. I don't care how great your battery life is. As an actor, if you don't have a phone, you're dead in the water.
Hollywood Fashion Secrets Double-Stick Tape
I know everything they make comes in pink packaging, but I bet guys could use some of the products too. Seriously, buy EVERY PRODUCT THIS COMPANY MAKES. Start with the wardrobe tape and realize "OH! This is why the stars always look like their clothes were tailored to fit." OK, they probably WERE tailored to fit. But seriously...wardrobe tape. Do it.
Febreze Fabric Refresher to Go
We've all got that one outfit that we wear to every other audition. And I know you don't wash it that often. Don't let anyone else find out. Go easy with this stuff though, otherwise you'll smell like a laundromat.
Scotch-Brite Lint Roller
Whoever came up with putting tape on a roller is a genius. Hair, fuzz, dirt, Cheetos dust...gets it all off. ESPECIALLY useful if you have a dog that seems to exist solely to shed everywhere.
Evian Mineral Water Spray
When you're battling through rush hour to your third audition of the day, and the sun is beating down so you've got that ultra-drying air-conditioner blasting, you will rejoice when you spritz your face with this mister right before you go in. Life-changing.
I hope this saves you a little bit of angst or misery. Years ago, I would have also listed the types of folders I used to populate that amazing plastic tub full of headshots you can see in the first photo (the one that accompanied the Backstage article), but since we really don't need to carry around that many hardcopy headshots...I'll hold off. DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE THAT YOU DON'T NEED TO CARRY HARDCOPY HEADSHOTS EVERYWHERE??? Sigh. Kids these days.
Break legs out there, gang. MWAH.