You’d think ashes were the last step before the trash can but there are many ways that wood ashes can be used around the home.
Fireplace ashes can be used in your compost pile to maintain a neutral acidity level.
When spring arrives use your fireplace ashes in place of commercial fertilizer for your garden and potted plants. Check out The University of Connecticut’s web page on how to use wood ash effectively as a fertilizer http://www.hort.uconn.edu/IPM/homegrnd/htms/woodshes.htm or Hume Seed’s web site at http://www.humeseeds.com/ashes.htm
You could use wood ashes to make soap but frankly the process takes way more work than I believe it’s worth, but in the interests of thoroughness here’s a link to the detailed process http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_ashlye.html
Sprinkle ashes on icy driveways and sidewalks to provide traction.
Keep a bag of ashes in your trunk in case you need it to get out of an icy spot.