Many existing schemes for linear-optical quantum computing (LOQC) depend on multiplexing (MUX), which uses dynamic routing to enable near-deterministic gates and sources to be constructed using heralded, probabilistic primitives. MUXing accounts for the overwhelming majority of active switching demands in current LOQC architectures. In this manuscript we introduce relative multiplexing (RMUX), a general-purpose optimisation which can dramatically reduce the active switching requirements for MUX in LOQC, and thereby reduce hardware complexity and energy consumption, as well as relaxing demands on performance for various photonic components. We discuss the application of RMUX to the generation of entangled states from probabilistic single-photon sources, and argue that an order of magnitude improvement in the rate of generation of Bell states can be achieved. In addition, we apply RMUX to the proposal for percolation of a 3D cluster state by Gimeno-Segovia et al (2015 Phys. Rev. Lett. 115 020502), and we find that RMUX allows an 2.4 increase in loss tolerance for this architecture.