Cleaning out the stove was an issue for us last week at the cabin. Our stove is pretty small and it should be emptied every three days. It's no problem on a weekend, we use it, let it burn out when we leave, and empty it when we return.
On longer trips like Christmas week there is usually a point were we can let it die out, running on our two small electric heaters until we can get the fire going again. This last week however we just couldn't bring ourselves to let it go out.
The stove was choked with ash after 5 days and we had to run it in updraft (open) mode until we left. (Not so convenient for the guy responsible for keeping the fire hot overnight!)
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp