I did this tackle a week ago just in time for Spring. I promised Scott that since I love to light fires in the fireplace, I will clean it out every Spring. Each year it gets a little worse! This year, I had black in my fingernails for 3 days after. (I swear I washed and washed my hands)
Still looks dirty, but at least you can see the lining of the bricks. And hey, it IS a fireplace after all!!!
Although we have promised not to spend any extra $$ due to our job situation, I did get Scott to agree to me buying candles for the fireplace candelabra. I buy them at the Dollar Tree and spend a whole $9 every two years. :-)