Another way to manage the contents of a Maya scene is with layer sets. Using layers has a lot of advantages, but the one I want to talk about right now is the ability to make certain objects visible but un-selectable.
In complicated scenes it can be frustrating trying to select a single piece of geometry from the rest of the clutter.
To alleviate such difficulties, it can be massively beneficial to divide your scene into layers, which allow you to make certain objects temporarily un-selectable, or turn off their visibility altogether.
Maya's layer menu is in the bottom right corner of the UI beneath the channel box.
To create a new layer go to Layers → Create Empty Layer. Remember, keeping everything in your scene aptly named will only help you down the road. Double click the new layer to rename it.
To add items to the layer, select a few objects from your scene, right click on the new layer and choose Add Selected Objects. The new layer should now contain any objects that were selected when you clicked add.
You now have the ability to control the layer's visibility and selection settings from the two small squares to the left of the layer's name.
Clicking the V will allow you to toggle that layer's visibility on and off, while clicking the second box twice will make the layer unselectable.