The inevitable byproduct of a cozy evening by the fireplace is having to dispose of the ashes. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends sweeping the ash when it accumulates to an inch thick layer. They also suggest shoveling the ashes and keeping them in a sealed metal container outside the house, to prevent disaster in the chance there are still some hot coals in there.
More on chimney safety here.
Your ash metal container can fill up pretty quickly, and you'll be glad to find that it is a pot of gold you got yourself in the backyard. Let's learn 5 home uses for ash.
Slippery icy and snowy pavements are literally right around the corner. The ash from your fireplace can add traction to both yourself and the wheels of your car, while also not damaging the lawn. You can even go the extra mile and keep some in an emergency box in your car, for when you get stuck on a slippery spot far from home.
If you ever polished silver with a chemical cleaner you know how horrid the smell is. You can make an abrasive paste at home by mixing a little water with ash until you get a stable consistency. Let it sit on the surface you want to clean, wipe with a cloth, and buff until it shines. This paste can also be used to clean limescale from metal and glass
As ash contains readily-available water-soluble potassium and calcium, it can be a good one-time fertilizer, especially for fruit bushes (with the exception of blueberries and potatoes). Mix a small amount into the water rather than sprinkling it straight on the soil. This will both ensure optimal penetration to the roots and prevent over-drying of the soil.
One obvious way to extinguish a small and dying fire is to turn it over so it is choked down by its ash. If you need more ash, head to your stock, and for extra extinguishing purposes you can use baking soda. This will also deodorize your fireplace.