TL;DR: When an item is dropped out of your inventory, be it on death or on purpose, the slot/your inventory remembers what kind of item was in it. This behaviour should apply to hotbar, offhand and armor slots.
It has happened to everyone. You die, come back to get your items, but instead of placing your sword in the hotbar, you suddenly only have carrots and sticks or something equally useless in it. But here's the solution: After you die or drop an item from hotbar, offhand or armor slots, your inventory "remembers" what slot to put that kind of item (e.g. diamond sword, torch, green wool, ...) in.
A transparent icon of that item could shown in that slot to indicate the remembered behaviour (this preview can be disabled in the settings).
If you place anything else in that slot, the preference will be "forgotten". Also, other items that you pick up can fill that slot if they need to (e.g. the rest of the inventory is full).
While the preference is still there, transferring an item by shift-clicking should also prioritize the remembered slots. That'd be useful in case you want to quickly equip backup gear.
When to create a preference:
On death/dropping any item
On trident thrown (maybe it'd only be created when the trident has layalty? But that's open for debate)
When any item is placed in that slot
When the player clicks (exact action is open for debate) on the preference. That allows players to remove unwanted preferences.
On item pickup
On trident pickup/return
When shift-clicking to transfer items from any inventory
Therefore if there's a preference for some kind of armor, any armor that fits the preference will be equipped automatically.
When there's no other space to put it in the inventory
When the player specifically placed an item in a specified slot
What do you think about this? Questions? Feedback? Comment below! ;)
I also made a post on the subreddit for minecraft suggestions: https://www.reddit.com/r/minecraftsuggestions/comments/bldd7r/inventory_slots_remember_what_item_was_last_in_it/
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